Monday, October 29, 2007

Shower the People

I have two favorite rooms in my house, my kitchen and my bathroom. Both were the results of a painful, but totally worthwhile renovation back in 2002. And by worthwhile, I mean Larry's heart attack was a small causality for the pleasure of me having double sinks and beveled glass cabinets. (Suck it up baby, I'm worth it.)

The bathroom has a 92" vanity with kitchen cabinets to hold the towels and miscellaneousness facial accoutrement needed to supports two aging homosexuals.

But my favorite part is the shower. 9 feet by 6 feet with a bench and two shower heads. We could serve dinner for four in there.

Recently though, there's a been slight problem. It seems the shower diverter is actually diverting the cold water away.

Don't get me wrong; I love hot showers. I love hot water in general. There has never been a jacuzzi that is too hot for me. However, I seem to have met my match.

Traditionally in the mornings, the shower takes about three minutes to kick into gear. The water is ice cold and then slowly gets to the desired temperature.

Now, I get approximately 24 seconds to douse my body with water before it becomes scalding. I'm not talking "Hey, let's all go to a hot springs." I could honestly fry chicken in the water coming out of the shower.

As I came out of the shower the other day, Larry pointed out that it looked as if I were sunburn. "You should just use the other shower," he said.

"Why? I love this shower."

The biggest problem with the two us is that we will live with broken shit around the house much longer than we should. Sometimes, it's just easies dealing with the things you don't want to do.

My dad is coming from Christmas so I think we'll just wait and let him fix it. He can fix anything. I mentioned this idea to Larry.

"Excellent idea. But we should have him do it on day #2 and then cook lobsters for them in there the first night."

He's so smart.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Heart Will Go On

One October, our friends had come over for dinner. It was one of those perfect fall days where the kids ran in and out of the house as the adults prepared the meal.

As the people were putting out all the condiments, plates, and such, our friend Kevin looked over at the wall. Back then, we used to get wild looking calendars. I can't remember what the theme happened to be that year, but it definitely caught Kevin's eye.

As he looked at the calendar, he called out to Larry. "Hey, this day has a heart on it? What does that mean?"

"Oh, that's our anniversary. Steve puts stickers on that day so I remember."

As I walked back in, Kevin called out to me. "Hey buddy, great idea with the stickers on the calendar."

I look puzzled. Kevin explained the conversation the two of them had as Larry came back into the room. I looked at Larry.

"You dumbass. Why did you tell him that was our anniversary?"

"Isn't our anniversary in October?"

"It is. But those stickers are the reminders for the dogs' heart worm medicine."

Happy Anniversary, to the man who could look at a sticker every month and just think it means our anniversary.

PS Heartguard has since changed their stickers to look like this. Was it because someone wrote them and told them this story? I'm not telling.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

One Small Step for Man

Growing up is hard. And it is probably the worst on us parents who aren’t yet ready to acknowledge that one stage is over and the next is happening right before our eyes.

Yesterday, my son came to me with his blue stool in his hands. He uses this to reach the sink every night and brush his teeth. I sit there next to him watching him brush and then afterwards, I tuck him in bed.

“Do you know what, daddy? I’m positive I don’t need this any more.”

UGH. My heart rips that he is tall enough to not need a stool.

And ‘positive’? Where the hell did he learn to use that word correctly?

While he still sleeps in batman pajamas and has a room that is decorated in dinosaurs, I know that this world of being a little boy is ending soon. There are nights I sit in his room after he’s sleeping and wonder how many months we have left of it. Being surrounded by fisher price toys and a stuffed monkey make me feel like daddy. This is what I love most of all. Don’t let this end.

I remember those days when he was 9 months old. We’d prop him up with pillows in the family room. Then he reach for something and fall over. He’d cry out to be propped up again only to fall over seconds later. I’d look up to heaven and say, “I hate this stage. Please let him get older.”

God… I was only kidding. I’m not ready for him to grow up. I like my boy little.

He’s going to picking out his own clothes soon. Eventually there will be no more Higglytown Heroes. He’s going be watching those freaking live action shows like Zach & Cody. Buckaroo will be replaced with video games I can’t even play.

My screen saver is filled with pictures of him at all stages in his life. It’s strange to see a little boy who fit in one of those tub rings…or a boy in pull-ups…or a boy who rode a tricycle.

Where is that little guy? I want him back.

And I promise God… I won’t ask for him to grow that fast again


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Travel should take you places

Well, I'm in Chicago for the next two days. Trying to escape from grad school? You would think that after Friday's tyrant but a number of good friends have given me more things to look at besides a single conversation (see comment section). Additional thanks to Rich for not only sending commenters my way, but cutting his hair in solidarity.

I have a business meeting for the next two days and am hoping to accomplish half my stats final while I am here. Honestly, it's not terrible and I can do two of the four problems in my sleep. (Seriously, the whole thing is four problems. But you can only imagine how much time goes into each.) Still, I can do it.

This trip has me back at the Palmer House. The last time I was here...well, was my prom in 1985. Scary to think back to those days. If I were at home in DC, I'd include the obligatory photo of me with Kevin Bacon's feathered hair. I even used to say 'jump back' like I was some kid in corn country who couldn't go to his prom with the preacher's daughter. (Remember, I played for the other team back then.)

Lucky for me, I arrived smack dab during the Chicago marathon. It took about 60 minutes to get downtown but the cab driver and I had a great chat. You can meet the nicest people in the oddest of places.

When I got to the hotel, my room was not ready. With the volume of folks running the marathon, most had requested a late check out. However, since I'm a Hilton Honors member, my room would be ready in less than two hours.

Now beggars can't be choosers, but check out this room. How does it take two hours to get these things ready? If the entire hotel looks like this, the cleaning services should be able to do all the rooms in about an hour. (And yes, there is not even a set of drawers to put things in.)

And that is my bathroom sink. I put the toothbrush in there for perspective. Notice that the shampoo/conditioner/soap tray had to fit UNDER the sink since there is no room up above.

(PS I've been told it's a tirade not a tyrant. Sorry.)

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Coaching Skills

Yesterday, I met with the professor who is to be my “coach” for the next 21 months.

He was actually the one I met at the MBA open house last November. That night, we had a great talk about going back to school and being older dads. (He was expecting his first child at the time.) I remember coming home that night and telling Larry ‘I found my grad school.’

This guy was the professor for the Organizational Behavior class as well. He is one of those speakers that is just mesmerizing. I love engaging people and tend to find myself drawn to them. When it was announced after our week long residency that we could pick a professor to read our 15-page reflection paper and serve as our ‘coach’, there was no choice for me. I knew I wanted this guy and even turned in my paper early to hopefully get him.

Yesterday we met. We chatted about kids and then moved onto the paper. This paper was a chance to examine the things in our lives that were holding us back from becoming leaders. It was a chance to talk about possible paths we might like to explore in our lives and how we’d get there. It was the quintessential ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’ paper.

“Well, I went through your paper and it didn’t really have a lot of direction going in it.”

That was his first sentence. My heart sank hard. I put a lot of effort into that paper. I’m using grad school as way to help me decided what to do next, especially in the area of staying in non-profit or crossing over into for-profit. I’ve set a lot of nonexistent barriers that have kept me from looking at the for-profit world and figured that by learning more ‘real-life business’ from classes and classmates, I’d decide if the move was right for me.

He pointed out that “your future ideas seem as directionless as your past has been. I mean, you have a degree that you didn’t do anything with, you spent some time working in logistics and now you are trying marketing. You really haven’t had much a of career path. This paper is supposed to be about your next step.”

He questioned why it was that I didn’t have more concrete activities in place to help me make decisions. I explained my uncertainty on what I might want to do in two years. “I’m not sure I want to take the perfect executive corporate job just as my son turns 7,” I said. The professor is an executive coach for the numerous executives in Asia and Europe. He told us how companies would spend $15K just to fly him business class to meet with them.

I said, “Well, I’m not as lucky to have had your life. You got to do all that and then you became a father. My life turned out differently and I have decisions to make. I’m just not sure and was hoping this would help.”

At this point I just wanted to leave, but he went on. “It reminds me of the Alice in Wonderland story. Alice asked directions from the Cheshire cat. When the cat asked where she was trying to go to, Alice replied that she wasn’t sure. The cat pointed out that it didn’t really matter which path she took.”

Who says motivation speakers only charge a few thousand dollars? I got this one for over $70K.

How dare he judge my life and how far I’ve come based off some 15-page paper. I’m proud of what my life is. I moved across the country without a job or any plans on how to succeed, but did. I’ve battled alcoholism and come out to everyone I knew. I may never be some international executive, but I didn’t ask to be either. I just wanted to better myself a little and keep learning.

I left dejected. Today, I stayed home to get myself caught up on statistics. The final is being handed out tomorrow and we’ll have about 10 days to finish. What a waste. I cannot get this crap. Every time I understand a concept, I can’t make the tools work to prove my answers are right. I’m frustrated and my body, especially my neck, hurts from the tension.

Today, I want to quit. I want to just scrap the $17K already invested into this colossal waste of time and walk away. Fuck stats, fuck him and fuck thinking I need this to make myself better.

Luckily, I have 10 more weeks prepaid to help make this decision. But I can tell you with a 95% confidence interval that I’m contemplating leaving.

And for the record, I can only say a 95% confidence interval. I can’t show you how to prove it.

(Thanks for listening.)