Larry Crowne

Posted in dating, family, friends, health, home, life, love, Movies, relationships, society with tags , , , , on January 14, 2019 by me

I saw this movie for the first time a couple of years ago, and it just clicked with me right away. I don’t know if that’s because I’m goofy and it’s goofy, or what. Or maybe it just spoke to me. Since then I’ve shown it to several people, and recommended it to more. I don’t think about it all the time, and sometimes I forget some of the subtext. I don’t have all of the lines memorized, and it’s not something I ever quote.

I’m always surprised when I look the movie up to rent it or show it to someone, there’s a ton of people who really, really hate it. I haven’t seen a positive review on it from a professional reviewer, the closest is someone who recommends watching it because it’s so “weird”.

I don’t understand that. One of the things I love about the movie is the tribe effect, and how opening yourself up to experiences and people when things are super bad, make things better. Poor Larry is at almost rock-bottom , and doesn’t quite see how things are going to get better, and then they do. Like they always do. And because he was open to new experiences and learning and people and help, accepting help with grace, giving himself grace, his life ended up even better.

And that’s what happens. Life gets better. And yeah, it’s going to go bad again, but if you do those things, and keep trying, and keep looking for the happy, it’ll get even better again.

So I was wondering, who doesn’t like the movie? Obviously, it’s going to be too slow for some people, too goofy for others. There’s going to be someone who hates Julia Roberts and someone else who thinks Tom Hanks is over-rated. But what about the other people, who are they and why? And I wonder how many of those people just haven’t experienced… shit yet. Real stuff. Feeling those things, feeling close to your rock bottom, and then getting through it, realizing one day that life is good, and you didn’t realize how long it’d been since you wanted to drink yourself into oblivion because you were too busy having fun.

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My Dad…

Posted in family, friends, home, life, parenting, relationships with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by me

I found a place. Long, weird story about how I decided to get this place, it’s nothing like anything I’ve been looking at. I’d spent a lot of looking at places similar to what I’ve got now, single family homes or townhouses in the suburbs. This is kind of weird, because I wasn’t originally planning to write much about the place, just this little blurb about my Dad.

Anyways, I ended up finding this townhouse in the neighborhood, just a mile or two away from my current house. Kind of a weird story on its own. When we were originally looking for a place 12 years ago, we looked at a townhouse in that area and I really loved it, but my ex-wife didn’t, so we got this place instead. So when I found a place in that complex that was open and in my price range, and recently re-done, it was really hard not to put a bid in. But I had to examine that a little bit, and make sure that I didn’t want it just because I couldn’t have it before. Ended up putting a bid in on the place, but I was a day late, someone else had put a bid in that had been accepted the morning I looked at it.

The bid was contingent on the buyer selling their current place before the 14th of this month, so I tried to put in a back-up offer. They rejected the offer and countered, but in the mean-time I was looking at some other places. My co-worker is a lot younger than I am, and her roommate just got engaged, so she’s got to find a new place or a new roommate. I introduced her to my realtor and she’s been looking at places for the last month. We sit next to one another, so over the holidays, when things were slow, we’d shop online and show one another places. I really started to like some of the places she was looking at, found a place online that we both liked, so we decided to go look at it together the next day.

The place is like nothing else I’d looked at. Instead of being in the ‘burbs, it’s in an up and coming area in the city, on the edge of our downtown. Instead of a single family home or a multi bed/bath townhouse, it’s a tiny little studio. New construction. But I loved it. And was scared of it at the same time. It’s so much smaller. I actually looked at another place as well, and tried to put a bid on it, but they aren’t VA approved. So I put the offer in on this place and it was accepted. And since it happened, I’ve really gotten excited by the idea of being able to move in and start a new chapter in my life there.

It’s weird, at first I thought it felt like I was moving backwards, going from the ‘burbs and a single family dwelling with a yard to a studio downtown. And I was a little stressed about whether there’d be enough room. But as I got to thinking about being single, and how little space I actually use in my current place, and started getting rid of things, I got more and more excited. And the thought of being able to walk out of the sliding door and go for a run in the neighborhood excites me. There’s just more to see and gawk at and different routes to take. Parking the jeep and being able to walk to work everyday is great.

When I bought this place I didn’t have to put in any earnest money or deposit because I bought it with a VA loan. So when I was shopping, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was approved for a VA loan for about 8k less than asking price on the studio. The agreed to come down, but they weren’t going to give me any incentives like paying HOA fees for x amount of months or appliances. And they wanted earnest money.

So here’s the original point of the story. I called my Dad and asked him if he could let me borrow 10k for the earnest money for a couple of weeks. My Dad hates the idea of owning property and renting it. It’s something emotional, and I don’t know if he really knows all of why he feels and reacts the way that he does. He said I could borrow the money, but called me back a couple hours later to talk to me about renting. Why didn’t I just sell the house I’m in now, then decide where to move and what to buy? Why keep it and rent it to my son or anyone else? Had I thought it through? Instead of going for the passive income, why not just keep trying to step up with each sale/purchase?

We talked it through a bit. He really felt that my son should move out on his own, work and go to school. He’s a little disconnected, the cost of living in Denver is out of control right now. We talked about whether or not I’m trying to do too much, help my son with affordable housing, rent this place and build equity and maybe get some passive income, etc.

When he hung up, you could tell he was still not on the same page as me. Nothing we talked about changed his mind. But the next morning, money was in my bank. I can’t say how much I appreciate that level of support, it’s not something I’m used to from him, but he heard us when we talked about what we needed from him, and he’s doing his best to provide it.

Nesting

Posted in dating, family, health, home, life with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2018 by me

I was pre-approved for a second home loan this past week.  I’ve been working towards getting another place for several years now and am moving a lot slower than I’d like, but things are finally falling into place.  The kid had a friend move in this past weekend and has another guy lined up to move in in January and thinks he can get another guy shortly there-after, filling the place.  That all requires me to move out.

So a couple of things happened this weekend.  One is that I finally started to purge.  Not tons, but a good city garbage bin full and a load to Goodwill.  And in my head, I started thinking of all the things I’d leave behind as a hand-me-down to the kid.  Amazing how much lighter that’s made me feel already.  

The other thing, is that I started to look at places in my price range.  Which may or may not have been a mistake.  The last couple of years, the plan has been that this next place would be a rental/investment property as well.  When I was engaged, she was an interior designer, so we were thinking we’d just keep building up this portfolio of long and short term rentals, that we’d also use to showcase her talents and build a portfolio for her.  So when I first started thinking of this, I’d stay in new place for a year, the minimum required if using a VA loan, then re-fi and move on to the next place.

The problem with just browsing this weekend, was it was really easy to start fantasizing and seeing myself in some of these places.  Not for the short term, but wanting to nest and make the space mine and make me happy for awhile.  That looked a couple different ways.  The first, there’s new construction a little outside of the city, not too far from me.  Good views, not super congested, built around a lake.  Definitely a “home” type place for a family, but it could work well for me as well.  I could see myself biking/running/skating around the lake.  Using the extra rooms in the house for my workshop and a guest room.  Part of it was just getting jazzed about “new”.  Not just “new-to-me”, but “new”.  The house I’m in now was more to satisfy my ex-wife and has never been “mine”.  It’s old construction and it’s just been a pain.

The other option is someplace trendy and fun.  A one bedroom, one bath condo or a loft downtown or in one of the neighborhoods that’s been re-gentrified, with new construction mixed in with old houses.  The magazine kind of place, that would impress friends or dates.  The idea of downsizing that much is appealing to me, I could still fit a workshop in the corner for leather and art work.

I could always turn around and rent either of those places in a year or two if I wanted.  But would I?  If I really made it “mine” and fell in love with the place, would I want to leave it in a year or two?  It’s different than buying a fixer-upper multi-family place and going in and gutting it, knowing that I’ll be finishing just about the time I need to move out, and knowing that going in, you’d take less stuff with you, you’d make your decorating decisions more generic, etc.

Not sure how this will shake out.  There’s a part of me that’s really craving a clean start and “my” space.  Seems like a great opportunity to feed that.  But can that wait a year?

All about the angles…

Posted in dating, friends, life, love with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2018 by me

This past weekend was the Thanksgiving holiday weekend here in the US, so it was a long, much needed, four-day weekend.  Thursday night I spent recovering from the last couple of weeks of work and travel, saw a movie with The Boy, and basically chilled.  The next couple of days though, involved 3 first dates.  Which is actually a lot for me, but if you’re single and would prefer-to-not-be, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Two of the women definitely knew how to play the angles.  One was significantly heavier than she appeared in her profiles, the other is a twin, and as sometimes happens with twins, one is super healthy, and the other has all the illnesses.  She was the one with an extensive and complicated medical history and looked super frail and thin in person.  I don’t think either one was maliciously trying to mislead anyone with their photo selection.  I say that they were playing the angles jokingly, and as an excuse to revive and show an old video.  The pictures I saw were definitely both them and both current, and yet at the same time, when I met them, I was very aware that there wasn’t a physical attraction to either.

I had a great time talking to each and getting to know them, and didn’t rush through either date early to end them early.  With each though, other things besides the physical attraction thing popped up that indicated a lack of compatibility.  The first one, the heavier one, just isn’t very active.  I’m not a fitness fanatic, but I do spend time biking, hiking, running, walking, etc.  I’d like to do some of those activities with someone and she has no interest in doing any of them.  Some of those activities I do because I have to, with my lung disease, and it’d be easier if I wasn’t tempted to just sit on the couch with my partner instead of doing the right thing.  We didn’t have a lot of common ground in other areas either, books, music, tv, religion or politics and she had some different views on parenting that aren’t compatible with mine.  Not that I’m planning on having more kids myself, but she’s got younger ones and if we dated more, at some point I’d be in their life.  The second woman is much more of a homebody than I am, not really enjoying road trips or spontaneous travel and exploring, and not wanting to venture downtown to meet me.

So I went into the third date consciously reminding myself to keep my expectations low.  Unlike the previous two outings, which had taken place on Friday and Saturday nights and didn’t have a set ‘end’ time, Sunday was just going to be a quick brunch as she had another engagement at noon.  The restaurant I picked opened at ten and was close-ish to her noon location.  I got there a little early and while waiting for the restaurant to open, another woman walked up to the parking lot where several of us were standing.  She was incredibly attractive, and un-characteristically for me, I nodded and smiled at her and said “Good morning”.  We talked for a few moments and I was almost sad that I had a date coming.

When my date showed up, I was a little surprised.  Again, the pics didn’t capture the real essence.  She’s a little pixie, does stand-up improv and is just a little frenetic.  I don’t know how’d you’d ever capture all that energy in a single photo.  She also doesn’t do shallow small talk, we went deep, fast.  There was a lot of *zing* and *click*.  Enough so, that I was a little worried that maybe the attraction was a little false, because we had so many similarities.  The two hours flew by, and I walked her to her next gig.

We texted a little that night, and the next day.  I was a little more aggressive than normal, very bluntly telling her I was attracted and pursuing.  For some reason that was well received.  We talked on the phone last night, and were refreshingly transparent with one another, just skipping a lot of the dating-games completely, and acknowledging that we were.

She talked about our first meeting (to her it wasn’t a date, just a meet & greet, our first date is Friday night) and said that I made her feel “small”.  In light of the recent #metoo movement, I was worried.  Did I somehow intimidate her (me?  really?)?  Did I talk over her?  Belittle or mock her somehow?  No, what she meant was that for the first time she was really aware of how small she was in a “different way”.  She felt…  feminine?  That was the best way she could describe it.  She was aware that she was very much a woman, I was very much a man, and there was a spark between us.

It was an interesting conversation and an exciting meeting.  Who knows where it’s going to go but, as with most things in life, it’s more about the ride and not the destination.

Snowball

Posted in health, life, meditation, veteran, work, writing with tags , , , , , on November 28, 2018 by me

It’s funny.  I haven’t been blogging much lately, and it’s become a “chore” again.  It’s harder to gather my thoughts together and the stress/anxiety/difficulty of trying to convert the thoughts into keystrokes is creeping back in.  Stupid TBI.  I’m having to use some of my coping mechanisms, like saying a post aloud while driving to compose and revise it, then trying to get to this ‘zen’ spot where I can say and type it at the same time without conciously trying to think about writing/typing it out.  Giant pain in the ass, which = less posts, in a snowball effect.  The less I write, the harder it is, the less likely I am to write.  Lots and lots of posts have been started and abandoned at various spots in the process, no longer having the abilty to just sit and type and then revise on the screen frustrates and kills the process for me.  Not being able to do it for a pressure release, makes it harder to write for school and work.

No real point to this, just trying to document the struggle for future reference and get something out for the sake of getting something out.  Baby steps.

 

 

Bruce…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2018 by me

Man, I’ve talked about it before.  I never really listened to lyrics before, just the music.  The whole “When you’re happy, you hear the music, when you’re sad you hear the words” bit.  Lotta truth to that.  With a lot of my leather and art work lately, I’ve been holed up in my workshop, listening to music and songs I would’ve skipped in the past, I’ve let play and wash over me.  I’m not sad, but I am hearing more words now.

I was never a huge Bruce fan before.  There’s always been some of his songs that I didn’t hate tapping my toe to, but I never got the rabid fanaticism of his followers.  Then a couple of months ago I finally “heard” “I want to change my clothes, my hair my face” at just the right moment and it stuck with me.

I was a little mopey this weekend, and literally thought “Man, sometimes I’m just tired of being me” at one point.  Not in any kind of suicidal way or anything, just a tired of hearing some of the same self doubts and stories and my voice.  This morning I couldn’t get the thought of Dancing in the Dark out of my head, so I finally pulled up a youtube video of it where someone had typed the lyrics in:

Dancing in the Dark

I get up in the evening
And I ain’t got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain’t nothing but tired
Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby I could use just a little help

Chorus:
You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
Radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place
I check my looks in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere
Baby I just know that there is

Chorus

You sit around getting older
There’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me
I’ll shake this world off my shoulders
Come on baby the laugh’s on me

Stay on the streets of this town
And they’ll be carving you up all night
They say you gotta stay hungry
Hey baby I’m just about starving tonight
I’m dying for some action
I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
Come on now baby gimme just one look

Chorus

You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun’s for hire

 

I do get some of it now.  Those are somewhat universally felt lyrics, people can relate to them.  Some brilliant writing.

 

 

 

Grocery Shopping

Posted in family, health, life, love, relationships with tags , , , , on October 6, 2018 by me

I still remember the first time I went to a Super Wal-Mart during or after my divorce alone.  I guess maybe it was right before the divorce, after my soon-to-be ex-wife moved out.  It was later at night, and I went for a couple of reasons.  Obviously, the house was half as full as it used to be, and she’d taken a bunch of cleaning supplies and the like with her.  And she’s a lot touchier/feelier than I am, so we frequently disagreed on which type of supplies around the house to get.  I normally gave-in to her, because she was the stay-at-home mom, but now that she was out, I was going to do things my way.  I also needed food to prep for the week when my son came over and lastly, it was just a large effort to fill time.  I was home alone and the house was unbearably quiet.

The grocery store experience was a little overwhelming.  Not because I’m incapable of grocery shopping alone, but the experience as a whole, the failed marriage, the thought of having to come up with 21 meals for my kid, figuring out how to get him to school and back, trying to figure his room and the living situations out andwondering if I’d ever date again.

I have had several long term relationships since the divorce, but they weren’t like I thought they’d be.  Which is probably something to think about later.  For whatever reason, most of them wouldn’t get into some type of living situation for me, it’d be a lot of packing a bag on the weekends, going over to the other’s and then going home.  More like a long-distance relationship instead of a serious, committed thing.  So I kept shopping alone, kept picking things for my house and kept my space, my space.

I was over at a friend’s house tonight, and on the way home stopped for groceries.  It’s easy to stop at night, it’s realtively empty and I can get in and out quickly without getting stressed by stupid people.  It’s pretty much a non-issue now.  I know what I’m doing and life’s a routine.  In fact, so much time has passed that my son is in college now, and shopping for things for himself.  So if anything it’s gotten easier, including the being alone part.

It’s funny.  Now I’m trying to decide if alone isn’t it.  Where it’s supposed to be that is.  I know this sounds a little melodramatic.  And I know that the minute I type this out, I’ll probably meet the great love of my life.  Or of this week at least.  But dating has been weird.  With the seizures and the break last year, things went pretty smoothly.  I dated K for a couple months this year, but that wasn’t hot, and it was an eye-opener.  At this age, there’s a scary, scary amount of women who want to have kids and will do anything to get pregnant.  With my son at 18, I’m in no rush to start over again with a baby.  The ones who don’t want kids, generally already have them.  There’s a couple of people with kids my son’s age, about to become empty nesters.  And there are a lot of people who are just a mess.  A lot of people who are in their late 30s-40s who have never been married are a hot mess.  There’s a reason why a lot of them are still single.

And my needs have gotten specific as I’ve gotten older.  Having dated so much since the divorce, I’ve definitely defined dealbreakers that I didn’t have before.  And so, between the the crazy in the dating pool at this age, and my not just wanting to date for sport, it seems like trying to be single and just enjoying life and not being so hopeful seems like a much better way of going about life.  The regular disappointments of dating is getting old.  K was a great woman, but naïve about life.  I didn’t want a project, I just wanted someone who I could get along with well.  And the holidays are right around the corner.  The same logic that kept me from dating over the last set of holidays holds true this year as well.