Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections on 2008

2008 started off to be a very promising year. In January, work looked up as I in line for a temporary promotion. The company was investing in a technology that would nearly automate the daily tag & bag process every TV station in the country goes through. I was brought in at the beginning stages to be the “Manager” of a new department that would be housed locally. It was to come with a higher salary. Basically, I was going to do all the leg work in setting up the process and procedures. Then, once the system was ready to go, part-time or entry level positions would maintain it. From there, I would go back to working my normal job at the new salary. Sadly, before the system was even ready for me to start working, engineering figured it was nearly impossible to implement due to the amount of RAM and processing power needed to run the entire (and I’m talking 30 or so stations networked across the country) system. So, by March or April that completely fell through.

Oh, and the company declared bankruptcy recently. Actually, I’m not too worried about that, layoff-wise. We are a hub for the entire company. And, we turn a decent profit. Plus, most of the debts are on the print side of things, and it’s most likely layoffs will come from that sector. Also, I’m probably one of the least expendable people in my department. But, really who knows? All I know is I’m not worried about it.

Theatre-wise, I did as much as I intended to do this year, which was pretty much nothing ‘cuz I needed a break. Well, nothing ON-stage. I worked on a few shows backstage for the money. And enjoyed every minute of it. Enjoyed it enough to put a little seed in the back of my head for a career change when I don’t have to have a stead income (ie: No kids; no responsibilities).

In fact, I realized that theatre was missing from my life, and in 2009, it will be theatre filled. First, I recently joined the board of directors for my local community theatre. That’s been quite interesting so far (and that’s quite the understatement). Now, I’ll be producing “Guilty Conscience” for CCP starting right at the beginning of the year. The show runs at the end of February and goes into March, but a lot of my work on it will be in January and February. Then, after that, I said I would work crew on “Ms. Saigon,” at Footlite Musicals for Noffke. That will take me into May. By then, we’ll be diving head first into “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” We’ve been working on that since March 2008 and it will be wonderful to actually cast the show and start rehearsals. After that, who knows. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work on “Frog and Toad” again in 2009. It’s just so much fun, and money to boot.

Then, the biggest news from 2008 – Tricia’s back surgery. It’s hard to believe that it’s taken up the last six months of our life. The bad pain started with an ER visit. Then a few Spine Dr. visits later, we knew she would need the surgery. That was in early September, and she’s hasn’t worked since Labor Day. That put a big strain on us financially. But, the good news is that we are at least floating and not dead in the water. In fact, she got the A-OK to return to work on January 5th. I hope that’s not too early nor too strenuous for her back, but I’d be lying if I said we didn’t need her paycheck. Thankfully, most of the surgery bills were covered by insurance, but we will be paying our chunk of the bill for the next year. She’s healing quite well, by the way. Most of her back pain is gone. And, she’s thrilled to be able to get out of the house and back to work. She doesn’t deal well with sitting at home with nothing to do.

A bright spot has been the evolution of my relationship with my son. The teenage years have been very frustrating. But, I think I learned the key to it all – Understanding his language and communicating correctly. I don’t mean talking all, “OMG BBQ BFF Jill,” like the kids do these days. I mean hearing what he’s saying, not just the words, but the meaning. For example, when I say, “What are you up to?” what he hears is, “What kind of trouble are you getting into now?” So, his reply is, “Nothing” because he isn’t doing anything to get into trouble. But, that’s not what I’m asking and I can plainly see that he’s doing “Something.” After all, doing mundane things is still something. So, I would get frustrated because we were speaking different languages. Now, I think we have a better understanding of where we’re both coming from and the yelling has decreased significantly. Of course, there is the occasional, “I need you to clean this to my standards not yours,” argument. Followed by the, “It might not be yours to pick up but, either A) you took it out and therefore need to place it where it belongs, or B) I’m trying to get this other thing done and we need your help in other areas (it’s called contributing to help the family, now get off the couch!),” argument. But, yesterday, he gave me a hug for my birthday and, you know, that’s all I ever really wanted.

Changing the subject drastically, you know, I just haven’t been able to connect with God much this year. It’s not like I’m losing faith. No, I just haven’t had time to talk with Him like I should, or reflect on how He’s blessed me in the past year. I do believe He’s been taking care of us. But, I have trouble noticing those “small miracles” in life. I do need put more focus on God in the new year.

I guess that’s one of the things I’ve been struggling with: Do we ever reach a point where we don’t have to run as hard to keep up with God? Where our day-to-day actions with and for God come more naturally… I’m getting tired of going to bed thinking, “Crap, I didn’t get a chance to read the Bible or really sit down with God for a spell.” I don’t know…

Anyway, here’s hoping for an outstanding 2009! It’s gotta be better than 2008. I mean, the bar is pretty low…

Also, I know I'm not blogging much anymore. I don't have much interest in this anymore. I'm not saying I'm closing the shop, but just don't expect it to be open all the time. When the passion strikes me, I'll tap the keys. But, I posted 20 times (including this post) this year. 20% of that were updates on Tricia's back that were emailed to people anyway. I don't know when the next post will be or if there will be a next post. If there's a way to easily archive all of this, I might end up taking it down. I really don't know. I'm typing whatever comes out of my fingers right now, so I might just be talking... Stay tuned... Or don't... Or do...

In the meantime, here's a picture of Nikita sleeping under the Christmas tree:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ham at 3am

Cops can be dicks.

'Round about 3:11am this morning, I was awoken by ringing telephone. Glazing at the caller ID, I almost didn't answer it because it said "Privacy Manager." Luckily, I did.

"Hello, this is a call from the Carmel Police Department," the recording said.

What the fuck? What did the kid do to get into trouble?

After the recording, a police officer begins questioning me as to the whereabouts of my son. Mind you, I'm not very coherent due to, you know, waking up from a dead sleep. Try explaining to a cop at 3am why your "Mr. Long" and not "Mr. Schiro," especially when you have no inkling as to why said cop is calling.

"He's supposed to be at Kane's house."

"Do you know Kane's last name?"

"Um..." was the best my groggy mind could muster.

"Your son is with some other kids, sir. He's underage and out after curfew."

At this point, I'm trying to piece it all together. Was my son and other kids walking around the streets at 3am? My wife has woken up enough and can hear the conversation.

"He just came to the house to get some movies and they are going back to Matt's. He called to say they were coming. He even came upstairs and kissed me goodbye."

I am a very sound sleeper and woke up for none of that. Only the cops phone call. So, my son was being driven by Kane's 19 year old brother to get some movies from our house.

The cop proceeds to lecture me about curfews. I start falling back asleep when he asks if we can come pick him up. Really?!? Yes. There were at a certain intersection that was about a mile down the road and less than a mile from their destination.

We pull up to the flashing lights. I get out the car and the cop lectures me and my son about curfews again. Nevermind that he was with a legal adult. Apparently, there have been a rash of break-ins and robberies in the city. And the cop was serving and protecting by pulling over a car with "kids" in it. A car he clocked going 36mph in a 35mph zone.

I don't know where I was going with this post, but geepers. The whole affair really felt, "Cops can be dicks."