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Category Archives: Reflection

Addiction

This topic REALLY relates to everything I have talked about so far. From smoking, drinking, and drugs to eating, computers and music, and so many things in between, I have an addictive personality, and it makes everything that isn’t it hard, and then even harder is when it has to stop. One addiction doesn’t just stop though, it brings out the best of you as you quit and the worst as you find its replacement.

I think I can really go back to my earliest memories to find stories of addiction, but I am not even sure if I could find the root of it. Some might even roll their eyes at that and the idea that I can think of addiction as a child, but yeah. It’s that line between wanting something and having to have something. I had that early on. I never just wanted a new box of crayons, I needed every color made by a particular company, and they all needed to be perfect in their boxes. I have to pause at that statement, cause I am not arguing that I was spoiled or that this is proof of that, with kids that just want everything that they see and are never happy until it happens. This goes deeper than that. I grew up in what you might call middle class, maybe lower middle class. I wasn’t poor, but I wasn’t rich. My parents were able to spoil me here and there, but they just couldn’t afford to do it to a point that would warrant the “spoiled brat” behavior.

That may not of been important to address, but I think there needs to be an important discussion here about the difference in a need and a want when discussing addiction. That is how I know I was easily swayed to addiction as a child and still am. It is the feeling that can’t be described by words like regret, jealousy, envy or any other of the normal phrases associated with a desire or wanting. It is a more deep seeded drive that you only feel when you know you are without, not when you want or have. If asked to describe it I can only compare it to the feeling any normal person would have if they were asked not to eat for a couple days, or go without water on a hot day, or even that level of obsession where all you can do is think about it, plan on it, think about how it will happen, or when. It doesn’t have to be rational, it doesn’t have to be good, it can be stupid, dangerous and someone could tell you with no doubt that it could kill you, it doesn’t matter until you have what you are addicted too.

This is the feeling I remember having as a kid, starting with simple things and collecting. If I had that box of crayons, I was happy to have them, but I felt almost physical pain about the fact that I didn’t have every single one I could have, and no matter what rational person explained to me that I had every one I COULD have, it didn’t matter. I did this over everything, and if I couldn’t finish a collection, it was often better to not have any of it, because the incomplete would occupy too much of my time and thought. So, what a wonderful day when I learned about drugs and alcohol in High School, and decided to try them.

I want to start by saying that I am 13 years sober from drug use. I don’t count alcohol use, since I no longer keep it around and have stopped drinking enough to get drunk. I do still enjoy a drink with friends on occasion and I make an effort to not drink it more than that. I refuse to drink alone, and certain friends I have had talks with explaining that I never want to be addicted to it and if they see signs of it to make whatever efforts needed to remind or stop me.

Anyway, I found drugs and alcohol, and boy was I in love. I tried everything, this is the point my parents usually tell me they don’t need to know my entire past, and I loved most everything. I liked testing new things and mixing things and just being where they could take me. I don’t want to spend much more time on it than that, the simple fact is, drugs are great…when your on them. Alcohol has that concept down to a tee, best you’ll ever feel is that moment between blind drunk and throwing up. If you can just figure out how much you need to drink to stay there until you pass out, your golden, but you will pay for it in the morning every time. You will curse ever using it, until the hangover wears off, and it’s like you suddenly forgot what a hangover even is and where’s the beer? There was a point in all of this that I thought I could never quit either drugs or drinking, but then I found my first big transitional addiction to replace them both, love.

Man the things you will do for love and sex. I found a beautiful woman that liked my car, and at 19 that was close enough. Eventually I proposed and she said only if we both stop drinking and drugging. Well, she was the one I loved, and that is a much stronger addiction than any chemical I ever put in my body, and she was the only source I had for having sex, so sure, I want love and sex much more than a 5 hour trip or 1 hour high, or even a night drunk. That was my new addiction, at least it felt like it, and I did everything I thought I should do as a husband, turns out 20 year old’s don’t know a lot about being a good husband, and 16 year old’s don’t know a lot more about being good wives. We had some very rocky years, with a lot of good moments, but eventually there was just to much negative to work for any positives.

During my 6 year marriage I did increase an obsession, even addiction, to both music and computers that started at a very young age. Why do I think of these as addictions, you might ask. It’s simply because I have that feeling like I need to do something with computers constantly and I need to listen to collect and learn about music constantly. That difference in the feeling of need and want, to a point that either could easily take over my life if I didn’t keep them in check, keeping them from really being hobbies, but more like controlled addictions. I also learned clearly while married that I loved food, a bit too much.

Food, oh food, how do I love thee. I can eat pizza until I am full, then eat because I want the flavor of it in my mouth, have to stop because I am too full, but wait a little bit, drink some soda and finish off the rest a little cold. All the time telling myself that I am a fat slob, but how great does this pizza taste. Now, this isn’t just pizza, it’s just eating stuff I like in general. There have been nights I lay in bed thinking about all the things I could possibly go eat, and hoping I fall asleep before my will power breaks, it’s a race between the ambien and the car trip for some McDonald’s fries, which can I hold out for longer? Plus, eating it just evil. It is always there, you have to do it, and if you can’t have something you are trying to break the habit of, drinking, smoking, bad break up, what better friend than Ben and his friend Jerry? Family and friends never understand it either, even if they have the same problem. They offer you food, you turn it down and they are insulted you won’t eat. “I don’t want to eat because I finished all the calories this stupid app on my phone says I can have today and for some reason I am listening to my phone for health advice now.” or “I can’t eat cause I don’t know how to enter the crap you made in this stupid app.” It really doesn’t matter the reason, they still think you just don’t want to eat their cooking, or you ate before coming to see them or you have plans you aren’t telling them about after.

They all have a diet you need to try, and never think the one you are on is correct. The last actual diet I was on was a closely doctor monitored and controlled diet, and when I tried telling people what I was doing I actually had people tell me that my doctor was a “quack” and I needed to find a nutritionist that knew what they were doing. All because they read online or heard from their doctor about this diet or plan that somehow worked for them, or at least someone they at least knew someone that knew them. If they don’t know of a diet you should be on, they have an opinion about how you shouldn’t diet. If you are using an application or program of some sort, it’s never the correct one, and no one seems to have the same opinion. You need to try this or you need to try that but don’t do what that other person said to do or not to do.

What I use to do to relive all this stress was a good old fashioned cigarette. Smoking is a powerful and very addictive activity, one that I enjoyed so very much. I once described how smoking feels to my friend Amanda, and she told me I sounded like I was describing a erotic pleasure of some sort. I wasn’t even trying to do that or being poetic in my attempt. When you have smoked for several years you get to a point that there really isn’t much that feels quite as good as lighting up that next cigarette. If anything encapsulates the feeling of addictions as good as hard drugs do, it is smoking. When you are smoking you feel like you are with an old friend helping you through your day, and when you aren’t smoking you are thinking about how all you want to do is smoke and get back to that friend of yours. I quit smoking myself in 2012, partly due to health concerns with a developing cough I had, that has stopped since, and with healing factors from a surgery, but mostly because I have an asthmatic son who asked me too try.

I did quit, but found it so hard that I really only replaced it with an electronic cigarette or vaporizer. While sometimes I still use nicotine, and sometimes I don’t, I am still going through the addicting actions and behavior of smoking, just without the smoking itself. While some people consider this a much better habit, and some feel it is just as bad, I tend to lean towards the former just since my health seems to be better for it. Even though it does seem to be the case, I do still plan to quit the vapor as well. I find myself looking towards the idea of quitting with the same dread as when I quit smoking and feel like I will be losing a part of myself. The worst of the feelings that all addictions seem to have for me, the feeling like I need something I don’t need and have some how failed by having to lose it. It really is a common theme in addiction, and the worst of addictions really hit it home.

The final chapter in my talk about addictions, and not a moment too soon seeing how long this has become, is stuff. When I say stuff I mean stuff of all kinds. I collect things, and more often than I would like to admit, collecting things becomes an excuse for borderline hoarding behavior. It is all back to that same behavior of addiction that is the earliest in my memories as a child and it has never really gone away, and I don’t know completely how to control it even after 30 years. It is this special feeling where my OCD and addictive personality meet. I don’t just want my favorite book by this author, I need every book they ever wrote, even if I don’t even like anything else they wrote but that one book. I do it with everything, I have to have. What might set me apart from most hoarders is that I don’t have to have everything of everything, I am not saving everything cause it my be useful or I might feel wasteful getting rid of it, that would be almost too easy, I have to somehow make it more complex than that. There are lots of things I don’t care about, and as soon as something breaks I can chuck it with little issue. The issue I have becomes apparent if I find something I truly like.

Lets take stuffed bears as a great example. When I was born a neighbor of my parents gave me a stuffed bear, and I love that bear, and I still have that bear. Skip a couple years and now I am 2 and I break my arm, the friend of the family watching me that day felt horrible and bought me a stuffed bear to keep with me during my recovery. Ever since my jogging bear, he is wearing a green jogging outfit, has sat on a shelf next to my other bear. Now lets skip 18 years and I have just moved into my first house with my wife. When I was decorating my space in our room I get out these two bears and she didn’t know what in the world was going on, so I told her all about them and why they were important to me. She thought it would be cute, and it was, to occasionally get me a bear as a gift from my then new born and later toddler kids. We skip one more time another 13 years and we get to me moving into my new house, now a single dad, with my two growing up too fast boys and when unpacking I realize that I have 3 small moving boxes of just bears, and one more of random stuffed animals, and I can only place getting a handful of them all for special reasons and then my two favorite bears from my childhood, and I don’t even know why I have the others. Looking back on it I can see the point that I stopped getting them as gifts and started buying them for myself, and I still don’t understand why, other than to explain this need to just have them, and I needed all of them, and I don’t know how many there are, so I just get every one I see.

The worst part of this behavior for me came when I recognized it and started just giving things up. I don’t want addiction to hold me to things or actions and I am trying constantly to enjoy things, to have that drink and to have a collection, but to stop at that drink, to only collect one or two things and learn to just enjoy the things I really want without having to have everything, but that feeling of the need never stops. I put all the stuffed animals that mean something on a display shelf in my office, and on my office chair is all the other bears and other animals, that I just don’t know what to do with. I know I need to box them up and give them away. Some child will be better off playing with those than them being stored uselessly in my office in a box, but I have to bring myself to do it. If you are wondering I did settle on three actual collections, outside of the knickknack here and there things to remember family members by that have passed. I collect playing cards, dictionaries, and silver dollars. The reason for each could be a post themselves.

No matter what you do, no matter what your addiction, that need is all that seems to matter. The worst part is that need goes away once you have it, and more times than not you find that you don’t even want what you needed, you just needed it. I never wanted to smell like cigarette smoke, or have hundreds of stuffed animals that I have never as much as looked at, or done anything that was bad for my health, I just needed it, or at least felt a need for them. The want is not always there like so many that aren’t addicted to anything assume is what it is all about, but the need is what drives this behavior that makes the person doing it fell horrible, and then once the need is fulfilled, there too often is still no want and no fulfillment but learning that you still need, it’s just moved on to something new.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2014 in General Post, Reflection

 

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Loneliness

Next in my series of subjects, not sure how to label them or explain any better than that. I guess this is just points of which I am thinking about or worried about in my life right now. This one, as you can probably tell from the title, is not specifically about weight or diet, but I don’t restrain my blog to that subject.

Going all the way back to high school, I was never great at asking someone out. The subtleties of this game people play where they show affection to show interest or say things at the right moment, constantly dancing around hoping the other person will be the first to say something or make the first move, have always been lost on me. This usually leaves me either staying withdrawn never really knowing what to say or saying to much too bluntly. I can say that over the years I am able to see it much more in others, as age will do such things to you, but I still have a lot of trouble in both seeing it when directed to me and in directing it to others myself. It seems to be a common social interaction to play on these subtle motions and reactions to show that you are interested so that the other person can turn you down or accept you with a responding action of their own, all in an awkward dance waiting for someone to actually say it, but only saying it when you are sure the feeling will be reciprocated.

The idea that someone can even follow it is beyond me. I would be much more comfortable with someone just saying that they are interested, so that I can then say if I am or not, and vice versa, but this just isn’t how things go, and the fact that I know people don’t respond well to that sort of openness makes me nerves and unable to do act in the way I think people should. I am aware that my views are not the common, and awareness makes me cautious of how I act myself.

Anyway, there is more to it than that. I grew up as a teen in the 90’s. A time that many would agree was a start to this culture of sleep around, looking for someone to have fun with, and not looking to settle down. That in itself made romantic life more difficult for me from the start. I seem to be in the minority of straight men that just want to find someone I can spend my life with. I have never looked for a short term relationship. I think of all relationships as possible long term and treat them as such, which in itself makes it more difficult to find someone in a sea of those looking for a hook up or a short term relationship.

Last is actually about my weight. I have been over weight since Jr High and I am more so now than I was then. I am not alone in this, I am actually the smallest of three brothers, at the moment, I do want to give them credit for the possibility that they could one day lose the weight as well. Being over weight from childhood comes with a nice self esteem issue that is hard to get rid of. The feeling when looking at a beautiful woman that she couldn’t possible see in you what you see in her. I know it is stupid, but it is hard to get rid of. It has been an on going thing in life that you end up beating yourself up about and you just hope you can turn into a positive motivating factor in changing things. I only have the outlook of a guy, and can’t possibly understand how a girl feels in the same situation, but I have to assume it is close to the same, and for any woman that might read this, I do mean beauty, not just physical attraction, when I talk about what I think of a girl I like.

Now that is all covered we can get to the point of this post. That might seem like a lot just to lead in, but it is all important to my point. It is because of these factors that I mostly stayed single through high school, and then only dated two people before the second became my wife. I was married to her for just short of 6 years and I am still not even sure how I ended up asking her out. I say that, I know how it all happened, I just don’t know how I did it. Plus, there was months of being friends and wanting to ask her out and getting closer to her and not knowing what to do and not knowing how to act and not being able to ask, then there was even the one time I did ask and she turned me down and I felt like my world would end. Until the divorce I would have marked the moment she said no the first time I asked my wife out as the worst feeling in my life, but then I got divorced and found out that there are so many more things to cause such more pain.

Following the divorce I became a single father and found myself being that same guy that didn’t seem to want the same thing out of finding a date as most of the people I knew, but now it was with less money, kids, age and a hair line that was a little farther back than the last time I had to do it. That was 7 years ago. I have been on a few good dates that went no where, I have been on several bad dates that didn’t last long enough to go anywhere. Through online dating I even found one girl that I called my girlfriend for a few months, but that ended, still for reasons I don’t fully understand. Worst was a girl I liked but strung me along and was just using me as someone to hang out with when she had nothing better to do, but never planned to let it turn into more.

For those that don’t know me, I settled into a job that is safe. I didn’t do this because it makes me a lot of money, or is great satisfying work, I did it because it pays steady and has good benefits and a retirement package. I would like to take the risks and build my career and find something I love doing, but I don’t, or can’t, do that right now. I am a single father, I own a house and I have two kids to feed. The job I work is considered a low income job, and it is, I make crap, but I know exactly how much I am getting and when all year long. So, I don’t have lots of extra, and we aren’t buying a lot of extras, but we have a roof, we have food, and we have clothes. Sometimes I am able to pull off a little more here and there, but I am covering the basics most the time. I look good on paper, good net worth and what not, but week to week I have to budget to get by.

Now all of the last 1200 words has been basically to explain everything that comes together to be the best guess I have for why I am alone right now. I am lonely, it isn’t like I am alone by choice. I really wish I could find someone to just spend some time with, hold hands and go for a walk. I just haven’t found it. I am not sure what I am doing wrong really. I speculated to a friend that if I just started showing my net worth and didn’t explain that I barely maintain my living with my income, I might get a girl, and we agreed that it wouldn’t be the kind of girl I would want. People ask you all the time what kind of girl do you want, one that makes me happy is the best I can come up with. I don’t care what she likes or dislikes. If she likes something I don’t or haven’t heard of, I would look forward in her teaching me about it or trying to tolerate it, and I would just hope she would do the same for me. Really I just don’t want to be alone anymore, and I just simply don’t know where to find her, what to say to her, or even if I could talk to her if I did.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Reflection

 

Mustangs and Thunderbirds Part 2

Following the wreck of my Mustang, I had to have something to drive. For awhile that was the Dodge Truck or Mercury Tracer that my wife and I owned, but only after a little over a year, the Tracer broke down and my ex got the truck in the divorce. Left with nothing to drive and a wrecked Mustang, I had to get something.

94 white lesabreI first got a 94 Buick LaSabre. This car was a piece of junk, but fit my price range. Really it was only junky because of the repairs and maintenance in required, on the inside it was really nice and it drove great. I got a couple of years out of that car until one day, pulling out of my parents house to get some supplies for my dad at the local Atwoods, I heard a POP that was followed by smoke coming out of the steering wheel that smelled like burning wire. That LaSabre never started again, and I never found what that problem was.

I then drove my Mom’s Kia Sportage for a while. While I don’t think I would seek out that car for myself, I had very few problems with it while I was driving it. Eventually there was a need to loan that car to my oldest brother, that was more pressing than me using it, so I went back to having no car at all. Shortly after that though, I fixed my Dad’s Dodge Truck and I drove that for a while. I loved driving that truck, I loved driving my truck and this one is so much like my old one, but I needed my own vehicle and my dad needed his truck.

1989 white camryIt was following a camping trip with one of my best friends that I found out that he was tired of his old Camry. This car isn’t one that could be described as a beauty. It was a white 89 Toyota Camry, so it was 21 years old when I bought it, and it was a piece of work. My friend didn’t really do engine work, so he wasn’t sure about the condition of everything, except for that it had a new battery, the back doors didn’t open, the trunk lock was broken in a locked position, and the driver’s door and hood both had a tendency to unlatch and open at random, but he sold it to me for $50. I couldn’t really turn that down. My dad on me to give back his truck and I could get something that runs for $50. I can do that. I probably put another $100 into the car, fixing locks and getting doors to open and such. Oh, and replacing the driver’s door and hood latches. Well I bought that beauty in the Fall, then in July, middle of July, it busted. It not only died, it throw a rod while I was going over a railroad track. If you added distance shots of a steam engine moving my way and made my doors stick, you would have a scene right out of the movies. Luckily for me we came across a police officer that had just gotten off duty and happened to have everything he needed to safely tow me to my apartment in his truck. Then I later got someone to take it off and sell it for scrap.

In all this time I just kept thinking that if my Mustang was fixed, I wouldn’t have all these issues. Over the 170k miles driving her, combined with my obsession in fixing and maintaining her, I learned to be able to tell an issue before it became a big problem. True, if she throws a rod, there’s not much I can do, but I know I can keep her running better than all these other cars I have been stuck with. Then I found the car I really wanted.

97 red thunderbirdA co-worker came in one day announcing that his grandmother in-law was selling a red 97 Ford Thunderbird. I said I would be interested right away depending on a few things. He took me out to look at the bird, and she was exactly what I have been looking for 5 years at that point. It’s a car that is mechanically identical to my Mustang. Engine, transmission, emissions, mostly exactly the same. Even a lot of the cosmetics are the same. The cars body shape and frame are different, but detail parts and trim are the same. I looked at this car and thought to myself “spare parts.” Even though the Thunderbird is a year older than my Mustang, her parts are a perfect fit. I had to have this car, I saw it as a win win for me. For right now I can drive a car so perfectly close to my Mustang that I can feel right when driving again, but so close to the Mustang, that I have the parts to get her running again when I can afford that body work. So I bought it, and to be honest I treated this bird like spare parts.

The next year things didn’t get better for the new car, when it started to look like I was really going to have a plan to start saving to get the body work done on the Mustang. I had gotten the majority of debts paid off and had some extra cash that I could reallocate into my budget, or I could put it in the Save the Mustang savings account, so I did both putting part to my budget then part to the savings. It was looking like I have a real three-year plan that could work. It was going to require me shaving off on that $7k a little by doing as much work on my own as possible, but I spent $1500 on a car that was full of spare parts, which would reduce those overall repair cost by a lot more than the cost of buying the bird.

Then last spring my doctor asked me to go in for an MRI for back pains I was having that were getting worse, and they found all the issues with all that, and I had to plan for surgery. Over the recovery, when I wasn’t able to work for three months, I ate up all my leave at work, and then all my savings, including Save the Mustang savings, but I had to get the bills paid and I couldn’t work. Following all that I was left with a slew of medical bills that I need to pay now, which now leaves me with a drastically reduced amount that I can put aside to do much of anything else.

Before going surgery that fall, a vent part on the interior of the bird broke. I didn’t even think much about it. I just weighed the cost of going to Ford to get a replacement, or to “borrow” that piece from the Mustang, after all I will be putting it back when fixing up the Mustang, right? This didn’t stop at that though. After my recovery a few things went wrong with the bird, and I did buy one part new, but when I priced a new alternator I just couldn’t afford it. I had to be able to get to work and the bird is what I’m driving. I don’t want to get money from anyone else to get a new one, because I can’t afford a new one myself and I have no clue when I will have money built up again to pay someone back for buying me one, but you know the one on the Mustang still works.

mustang logothunderbird logotypeThis is where I have really started getting into a position that I wasn’t expecting. Two parts to this really. First part is that I didn’t think about what happens if I need parts I can’t afford before I can afford all the work on the Mustang. I need to keep a car running, but I don’t want the Mustang to be spare parts, and I feel sick to my stomach with every part I take of my girl to fix the bird, but I have to keep the bird going. It’s a position I hate being in. The second part is that I have started really like the bird, even with her problems. She badly needs a paint job, has some interior issues, and some cosmetic flaws, but I have really started getting attached. With all the similarities to my Mustang, it wasn’t hard to get attached to driving a car that reminds me so much of the Mustang, and that I also can assess problems and fix them so easily on a car I am already familiar with because of the Mustang.

I think when the day comes that I need those spare parts, I am not going to be able to easily dismantle my bird for my Mustang. I have considered making my two-year plan to get the Mustang fixed into a three-year plan and fix up both the Mustang and the Bird. I won’t be able to get enough money to completely restore both of them, but I can get them both fixed and running, and get the body repaired on the Mustang, with enough left over to possibly paint them both. At that point I would need a new plan to save up to fix interior parts to get them both restored and looking the best I can make them. I don’t know right now, I guess it depends on a lot of factors. If my sons take an interest in helping with the work, that would go a long what to making the restoration easier. Also, as I approach the third year and see what the condition of my Bird is and how much I have been able to put aside, I will have a better idea of what is realistic about my plans of having both fixed up and ready to start restoring while able to drive them both.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in General Post, Reflection

 

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Mustangs and Thunderbirds Part 1

When I was 16 all I wanted was a Ford Mustang GT. I knew exactly what I wanted too. It would be a dark metallic silver with black seats and the full audio upgrade package. I didn’t really know how I was going to get this car, I just knew I really wanted it.

mustang logoMy grandfather had made it a habit of buying all the grandkids a car. He didn’t do it right off though, he waited until they had been driving and had their first wreck or share of breakdowns in handed down cars first. Now, while he wasn’t in the habit of buying brand new sports cars, he was in the habit of getting them, so I thought to influence him a little wouldn’t hurt. I knew that he had planned to give me his Ford Explorer, so I made it clear to everyone that I didn’t want an SUV. This was a risky move, because I had felt like I had talked my way out of getting anything from him several times when making that clear.

I then went out to the dealership and got pamphlets and information on the new Mustangs, and went to my grandparents house and talked to my grandmother about them and “accidentally” left these materials around when I left in places my grandfather would likely read them. Knowing that he would talk to my dad about the car buying choices, I made it clear with my dad exactly what I wanted. My dad doesn’t respond as well to subtlety, so I just came out and said what I wanted and why to him. I felt the best approach with him was straight blunt honesty on the subject. He in turn did the same, or at least I thought at the time.

He told me that I needed to continue making it clear to my grandfather what I wanted but that I needed to be looking at the kind of cars he suggests to me, but that I might be able to persuade him to get me something close to what I want, even if it isn’t exact. For example, if he sends me to a Saturn or Honda dealership to test out a sedan, test out the sportier cars there as well and report back on both. I might not get a Mustang, but I might get a sports car or at least closer to it.

honda logoThe day finally came when the car I had been driving died, I had to get rid of it. This left me with no car, and so I was hopeful that I was getting a car, and at this point I just wanted something to be free from my parents or brothers driving me around. My dad took me to several places to look at cars over a few weeks, and one day he suggested we get my grandfather out to the dealerships in town to look with us, since he was going to be the one putting the money down for me. To be exact, it was November 25th, 1998 when we went out to do this. We first went to another dealership and I looked around and purposely didn’t see anything I liked, I had made up my mind that I wanted that Mustang GT and I wasn’t going to find anything else that I liked.

Well we finally went to the Ford dealer and my grandfather asked me why I wanted this car so bad and we looked at it, but there was a Ford Escort out front after that with balloons and my name written on the windshield. My Dad told me that he had talked my grandfather into something more sensible for me and took me over to look at it why my grandfather went in to start the paperwork. I was called in with him, because they were putting the car in my name and needed to pull the car around to clean off the windshield and such before I could leave with it. I was very disappointed. It was really an odd disappointment, where I felt this horrible feeling for not getting what I wanted, but I was still happy that I was getting something. A compact sedan just wasn’t what I was hoping for. I know it sounds horrible of me, and puts me in kind of this spoiled brat category, to be so disappointed that I wasn’t getting the free car I wanted, but a different brand new free car, but I can’t change how I felt. All the same there was paperwork to sign. I don’t even remember doing it. I didn’t even read or look at it. I signed where I was told and just wanted to get out of there at that point. Something I now know I should have done.

1998 ford escortWe got all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, as it was, and then walked out to the service area, where they had taken my new Escort to get it all cleaned up and ready for me to drive off in. I remember that all I was thinking was what I remembered from my lessons in driving a stick, since the car I had been an automatic and this Escort was a stick, and I really didn’t want to drive off grinding gears and looking like an idiot. We get to the service area and all I see is that my car isn’t there. I didn’t process anything else than noticing that the car I had just spent a good 20 minutes being disappointed in, wasn’t there. I figured they had it parked right outside though, so I didn’t say anything or ask. I knew that I was holding the keys and walking out, I would find it. What happened walking out that door is a feeling that has never really been matched in my life.

We open the door and there is a red carpet and ropes leading to a light silver Mustang LX with my name on it. If I had spent 2 seconds reading the paperwork I was signing instead of being disappointed, I would have found that I was signing the paperwork for a Mustang not an Escort, or paid one bit of attention, instead of being disappointed, I might have noticed that I was holding a key with keyless entry and had just looked at an Escort that didn’t have power locks. This feeling I had, was one that it even hard for me to describe. It was relief, joy and confusion all at one moment. I was in a state that was close to shock, and really forgot what I was supposed to do or how I should be reacting. Finally a service guy came up and handed me the other set of keys and told me to enjoy my new car. My grandfather then asked me for a ride home, and it took all I had to say “of course” to him. That ride is one I have never forgotten. I am actually surprised we made it to his house. It was like I had tunnel vision, but all I wanted to do was look at the inside of the car. I had to fight to remind myself I needed to watch my driving. It was only made worse when I realized that my grandfather was in the car and I needed to make sure I drove really well so he wouldn’t think buying this car a mistake.

98 silver mustangNow it wasn’t a GT with dark grey exterior and a black interior, but I actually was glad later on that it wasn’t. It was a LX with light silver exterior with a grey and black interior. She was beautiful. Later on, when gas and oil prices started shooting up, I realized that while I wanted a GT, it was better that I had an LX. Today, I don’t think I could afford to drive a GT regularly. Plus, I live in Oklahoma, in the summer I can feel how hot the black trim on the interior gets, and I am grateful that the seats are a light grey cloth.

I do love that car. It got me through high school a part of college. I drove it on all my dates, until I drove it to my wedding. I drove both my children home from the hospital in the back seat of it. I have had some of my best and worst moments in that car. I drove her home with 3 miles on the odometer, and have put most of the 173k that is on her now. In 2006 I was in a bad mood, and I needed to go to the store. I knew I should have waited for my truck to get back to me, but I was mad and wanted to go then, and that is exactly what I did. The reason I shouldn’t have gone out was the ice on the roads. Coming back from the store, going less than 20mpg, I drifted off the road after hitting a patch of ice and hit a light pole on the side of the road. I bounced off it like pinball hitting one of those spring bumpers. Got my car home and saw the sad sight of a Mustang that was no longer able to drive on the streets. She ran perfectly, but the body damage to the front was too severe.

I wanted her fixed right away, but I couldn’t afford it myself. I drove her down to my prefered body shop and got an estimate to fix the body damage, but it was more than anyone was willing to help me pay. Most the people, friends and family, that I know told me to give it up, she’s wrecked and its time to move on. This sort of thing happens after all. She now sits, 7 years later, at my dads house. Not as some derelict car out in the field, but parked next to the rest of the cars in the driveway, off to the side so she’s out of everyone’s way. Unlike everyone else, my dad for some reason understands my attachment to this car, or at least supports it, but I still haven’t been able to fix her up. In the time since the wreck a lot of stuff has changed in my life. I said at first, I am going to fix her no matter what, but she keeps going to the back burner. First I hurt my back and had to drop a semester at school, leaving me with a reduced overall income, I’ll have to save later. Then I went through a long divorce where I ended up spending most of what I had saved up on lawyer fees, and paying off bills, I’ll have to save later. Then following my divorce I was left with a house I could no longer afford on my own and a long list of court and lawyer fees, I really have to save later. I finally got that all paid off and the house sold, and I had to find a place to live with my kids, couldn’t live with my parents forever. Taking what I had left in savings and the little I had in cash, and a couple personal loans, I got my deposits down and utilities turned on in a small place, I have to save later. We are seven years out and the account I have set for fixing my car has $300 in it, and it will take about $7k to fix the body on her.

There was a time that I never went a day without at least starting her, even after the wreck I started her everyday, changed the oil, charged the battery, regular maintenance stuff. Until one day when regular wear from not driving her took hold and the fuel started leaking, then the battery started having trouble turning her over, then one day a mouse got up in the engine and chewed through the alternator cable, and she hasn’t been able to start since. That’s been almost three years now. So many people tell me how a wrecked 98 Mustang isn’t worth the $7k to fix up the body, and likely another $2k to replace tires and molding and get her painted. Not worth the unknown cost of getting her running again and keeping her in that condition, or even more if I decide to try to fix her all up to new condition. That feeling in that Mustang, when I was driving away from the dealership, at a point that I had that tunnel vision and was overwhelmed by joy and excitement, but the confusion had started to wear off. When I was still expecting this to be some sort of joke, but so happy just to be driving my grandfather home. I still feel that when I get in my Mustang. Even today, with her front end all messed up, the steering wheel needing replaced and door hinges messed up to a point that the driver’s side door is almost falling off. Even with the seats torn up and the engine needing major work and care from me, even if I get the money together to fix the body, I still get that feeling every time I sit in that driver’s seat. Sure that feeling isn’t as strong as it was that first day, but it is something that is really special.

You might look at her and see an old junked car that needs hauled off, but I see a friend that I have had to put off a little too long. The only thing in the world that ever has given me that particular feeling of excitement and joy that makes her worth every penny of what it costs to fix her. It’s not about what she’s “worth” because I will never sell her. It’s about what she’s worth to me, and I haven’t been able to put a price on that yet, and likely never will.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in General Post, Reflection

 

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Starting 2013

I will start with a quick update on what happened with my back. Well, I hurt it. In earlier posts I have explained how, but to summarize, I was in the back of a truck and ended up out of the truck with broken parts. Then six years later I decided to get it fixed, not because I just really wanted it to, but because a disk started collapsing, giving me no other options. When I went in for surgery it was supposed to be a 4.5 hour surgery, followed by 2-3 days in the hospital. The reality was that they ran into complications and it ended up being a 9.5 hour surgery, and I was released from the hospital 6 days later. I don’t really feel different now that my lower lumbar is fused, but IT REALLY HURTS. I’m just saying, if you ever need it done, do it, it doesn’t help, but don’t think you will feel 200% better the next day. You have to go through the not being awake part, then the constant pain, cursing yourself for letting this happen to yourself, before you get to the point where you realize that it might be the best choice you could have made. At the point I am at now, I realize that this was the best option. I had a shattering L5 and collapsing disk under it with a bulging disk above it. My only two choices were to have the surgery to fix it, or to live with the pain of it slipping like I had for almost 6 years and hope when it collapsed it was still repairable and didn’t do major damage, OR, I could have it fixed and get the recovery time out of the way and get this all behind me sooner than later.

Now, it’s been three months since I had surgery. I can once again get in and out of my own bed, which might sound odd, but just try to get up from a laying position mostly using your elbow and legs without bending, and see how limited your space ends up being. I am back at work on a limited basis. I am working 6 hours a day instead of 8 that will end this week, which on one hand I am not looking forward to a full time pay status on the other, I miss getting a full time pay check.

Now, we might be halfway through the first month of the year at this point, but I haven’t really done much to get really started in the 2013 spirit. Beginning of the New Year is always a good time to review where you are and set goals for the year.

Well we can establish where I am pretty easily. The number is 250, for those not following along, that is my weight. My goal by surgery was 240; I got to 245, so I don’t think I did too bad. Ten pounds that I have been able to keep off with very little effort is a great start. I don’t look at not hitting fifteen pounds as a failure, but a goal I was able to reach, and did, but just couldn’t keep for now. My goal for my weight stays 200lbs, but I don’t know what kind of date to put on that goal. I am walking as ordered by my doctor, and that is only a fraction of what I was walking before surgery. He has released me for up to a mile now, but I still hurt pretty bad before getting that far.

It just hasn’t been as easy for me to make the foods I was eating before surgery. As a result I seem to have reverted back to my bad habits of quick microwavable and fried foods. Foods that taste great but seem to have no nutritional value while having large amounts of fat and calories. I will have to start working back to what I was working towards before surgery. Seems like I wasted so much time doing it before to just have to do it again, but I will get over it. I plan to go after work today and start getting my soup and salad type supplies together. I am thinking of adding something like an energy bar to my routine. I find myself both tired and hungry in the mornings, but unwilling to cook or able to buy food at such an early time. Maybe an energy bar in the mornings will help. Since I stopped drinking tea and refuse to drink coffee, I might need a source of energy in the mornings from somewhere.

I guess I could state a goal or two for the new year, in more of a list.

  1. Lose weight, as much as I can to reach my 200lb goal without pushing things too far too fast.
  2. Get myself on a regular diet that I can follow and enjoy.
  3. Drink less Dr Pepper, or soda as a whole. Don’t want to cheat and switch to Coke and say I succeeded becasue I quit drinking Dr Pepper.
  4. I would like to try to get to a point of walking 30KM a week. I am not sure if I know when I will be able to get there at the moment. This was the goal I was trying for before surgery, and I am not going to let the surgery stop myself from reaching it, it is just on delay right now.
  5. I had also set the goal of better communication between my ex and me earlier this month. I don’t have full control of that one though
  6. I guess I should throw in keeping things a little cleaner at home.
 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in General Post, Reflection, Weight

 

Pedals

I am tired of second guessing myself. I did something, rather I didn’t do something that I wanted to do, last night that I found to be quite hard for me to do, or not do. I spent about two hours thinking about doing it though. I made up my mind hours before that not to do it, but still thought for a long time about how I wanted to do it despite of my decision not to do it.

Although this was one of those things that takes a lot of thought. It was something I wanted to do and have done for quite a long time, but I knew that I shouldn’t do now. I don’t know if it would have been a real bad thing to do, in fact I don’t think it would have even been taken as wrong by those involved on the other end. I just don’t think it was appropriate at this time. Maybe one day I will be able to do what I want once more, but for now there are things that I need to stop myself on for other peoples ideas of appropriateness.

One should do what one feels, but at the same time consider how it might affect others.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2008 in Reflection