Sunday, November 30, 2003

The worst part about my visits with my son is bringing him back.

He slept most of the way there which gave me the chance to just look at him. He amazes me. Here is a life I brought into the world. He is an independent, living, breathing, thinking individual who would not be here if it weren't for me.

I look at him and I think of the past. I imagine myself at that age. It floods me with memories of age 12. I remember Junior High School. Trips I took. My parents. My house. Things I did to pass the time. Friends I had. I also thought of how many of those things are still a part of my life today. I took all those memories and tried overlapping them with his life today. How does he look at things? How does he perceive life? What is important to him?

I look at him and I think of the future. I try to imagine him at my age. I picture the two of us getting together for drinks and talking about life. I picture him bringing me his first girlfriend. I picture him handing me his first child. I picture him resting his hand on my cheek and telling me goodnight for the last time.

So many times this weekend I wanted to just grab him and hug him till it hurt. He's going to be amazing to watch the older he gets. I'm glad I'm going to be there to watch as much as I can.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

What great weekend this has been.

Thanksgiving started things off wonderfully with an early dinner at the invitation of my supervisor, Molly. It was great to spend time with her outside of work and to meet more of her family. I didn't get to compare notes with her on the way home as her son came with us for the ride; that should be interesting at work Monday.

That evening went to Cheryl's for a "Leftover Thanksgiving Party". It ended up being the two of us. At times I wonder about this group here. I often compare them too much to the crowd back home and am disappointed. I continually try to whip them into excitement over things like this but get the most lukewarm of responses. It seemed as if, with the McAuliffe, it was not even a second thought that you'd be spending time with each other. Work schedules, planning and other considerations were never even though of; it was second nature to get together with each other. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a different group of people in a different setting. Not to say I love these people any less; my life in Florida would not have been as good as it has been without them. Ii just have to remember that, in many ways, this will never be home and I cannot remake it into that.

Johnny and Kathleen showed up after a slight detour through Jupiter. I don't know who I was happier to see. My son is getting so much bigger and handsomer. He seemed very impressed with my weight loss. Kathy and I had a chance to talk about it. She is very happy and relieved. She is still certain I was going though a depression during my weight gain no matter how much I try to convince her otherwise. I always had a good self image of myself, no matter how fat I was. For crying out loud, I even had a pretty young girl interested in me before the surgery. How is that depressing?! I think I may have passed.

The one test which was driving me nuts was keeping from reaching out to her during the movie. I felt so inhibited by the boys being there; possibly a good thing. There was a time when we were elbow to elbow and I wanted to take her hand. It was electric. I did get a hug at the end of the "date" and I made a point to grasp her hand in a goodbye as I got out of the car. It may be a while before we get together again as we both have different plans for the weekend; but it so seems like the next time will be the perfect time to start talking about feelings. I've already been practicing what I want to say in my head. It makes perfect sense to me when I hear it. I can only hope she agrees when it makes it over my tongue.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Today was one of my worst days ever at work.

For a while things have not been the best with my team. Management has decided there isn't enough profit in what we have been doing and we are being disbanded and moved around. Most of my team, having not been there as long as I have...or as gullible as I am, are not used to the Liberty way of doing things. My latest sarcastic catch phrase is, "You can't spell logic with Liberty"! So they are looking on this in a purely personal level; that they are the ugly step-children of the company, that "they" are out to get them, ect. Then it happened.

There had been a big sales push over the weekend and everyone who worked was supposed to get a $25 gift card for their efforts. Two of my team members had never done re-orders before and felt very uncomfortable trying during such an important sales drive; not to mention compliance issues. When it came time to pass out the cards today, one of my team members was left out. It was explained that she hadn't entered any orders at all and had left early. I was livid. It was unfair and the worst possible timing. She had tried. She did help out in an administrative way. She also had managerial approval to leave early. My supervisor and I are buying her a card out of our own pockets. Unless someone from another department tells her she will think she get to card late because of a paperwork screw-up and I will have saved a good employee.

I'm still upset by it as I type this 7 hours later. Every one of my team members are good employees who have put forward an unbelievable effort in the face of all kinds of obstacles and deserve recognition. I took it almost as personally as the employee did. I'd like to think I am the opposite of every bad boss I've ever had. In the face of our being disbanded, each team member has said they want to stay together as a team and me as their team leader. Makes me feel good about the job I am doing and further vindicates me, at least in my eyes, to how long it took me to get where I am.

Don't think I forgot the "young lady". From the moment she got in today she was having a bad day; she was in total work mode. We sat together at lunch and almost immediately after that the gift card incident happened. I joked with her saying she had jinxed me. I also said she owed me for it and had to pay me back by smiling. She happily did, hopefully thinking it was a romantic cutesy gesture.

Not too much of a surprise; when she flashed that breathtaking day did improve!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I cannot let today go by without commenting about November 22nd.

The first time I read anything about the assassination of President Kennedy was in the 6th grade. I had found a book called "Four Days" in the school library. I must have borrowed that book a dozen times over. As I got older I found the books of Mark Lane, Robert Goldberg and Josiah Thompson. I have been to Dealey Plaza twice and even own the same model rifle allegedly used by Lee Oswald. When I finish this I am going to drop my DVD copy of the Zapruder film in the player. I might be what some news reports of the past few days call an "assassination devotee".

I guess "devotee" is a perfect word for it. I am devoted to the truth that will someday come from the assassination. I might not see it, but hopefully my son or grandchildren will. It took more than 100 years for all of the differing theories surrounding the Lincoln assassination to be proved or disproved.

I do not believe Lee Oswald acted alone. Whether he was part of a conspiracy or was, as he said, "a patsy" I can't say with certainty. What I can say with certainty is that some part of the government had a strong hand in making sure the right story was sold to the American public and media.

My mother could never understand my fascination with the assassination. "Let the man rest in peace," she would say, "What good does it do to keep bringing this up?" She had passed away before I was old enough, with enough life experience, to express it enough to make sense.

If someone like the President of the United States could be taken out as he was, then what chance has any one of us have? If parts of the government can work in the shadows and either orchestrate or protect such a horrendous crime for purely greedy purposes then what value does the country have left? Jack Kennedy deserved better. This country deserved better. Myself, my son and his grandchildren deserve better. An un-elected government came to life that afternoon and our country has never been the same. If it was the single random act of a lone nut it is sad enough. If it was the planned and calculated act of any part of our government it is sad beyond words and makes the actions of those the likes of Nixon, Marcos and others pale in comparison.
I have just gotten off the telephone after a four hour call with the "young lady" OMIGOD! The only way I knew so much time had passed was by how my need for a bathroom visit grew. And there was no way in hell I was going to end the conversation before she wanted to!

We talked about work related stuff for about 90 minutes and then all about our sons, religion, family history....just about every thing. We laughed. We confided. And I kept hearing that whooshing sound. I think I still have that same stupid grin on my face I had during the entire call. This was amazing.

The one thing I did learn was that she has been seeing someone. Not that I'm deterred, though. I don't want to go into much of the details here. Suffice to say the window of opportunity for yours truly may still be wide open. It looks as if we will get together Sunday and she offered the idea of getting together with both of our boys next weekend. HER IDEA!

Yes, Johnny is coming for the weekend next week. My sister, Kathleen, is picking him up on her way here on Friday. I am so looking forward to seeing his reaction to my weight loss. I don't think he can remember me as anything but big. I imagine his eyes bugging out gigantic-cartoon style. It is going to be so good just to have him around here again. I've missed him so much.

This "young lady" slays me. She makes me speechless. There was a moment today, when I was trying to be smooth and debonair about suggesting a possible get together, and the minute she got to my desk every word I had prepared in my mind disappeared. A complete void! I stared at her like a lobotomy patient with out a thought in my head. She appeared to think it was a cute moment and I did make her laugh.


I am so floored by that fact. She apparently keeps opening the door of opportunity for me. She talked a little about the relationship she is in and I had all I could do not to open the flood gates emotionally on my end. My friend at work has been dubbed my "sponsor" It's like n AA, you call your sponsor whenever you feel you're going to go off the wagon; my friend talks me down from saying something stupid or moving too fast. She is so lucky I don't have her home phone number or I'd be calling her right now!

I was so stymied when she started talking about what is happening with the guy she's seeing. I wanted to offer myself as the perfect alternative. OK, so maybe that would have been too much. Fighting to trip over my tongue was that I hoped my interest in her wasn't a problem. But I kept it inside. I decided to let her steer the conversation at that point. I'm waiting until after next weekend with the kids before I go that far.

On advice from my "sponsor", I haven't said any of the thousands of things I really want to say. I haven't gone off the wagon yet. But when the conversation was being steered that way I certainly felt as if she was trying to push me off!

And I want to be pushed off!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

I just got back from a weekend at a Star Trek convention in Orlando. What a great weekend I had. Myself and 5 of my friends went together. I also was able to reunite with my friend, Dave Ryan, and his wife who have just moved to Tampa. This is the first time in a number of years we have seen each other and now, with us being within the same state borders, we can look forward to seeing much more of each other.

I have been going to these conventions since 1975. I can still remember the anticipation and excitement I felt at my first con. After the dozens and dozens I've attended I still have as much fun as I did "back in the day". It is an opportunity to connect with old friends and make some new ones. I'm hoping I made a new friend this time as I took the opportunity to buy one of the actors, John Billingsly, and his wife a drink in the bar and at last count he thanks me 5 times for the drink. We also took pictures together, along with my pal, Cheryl. Prior to leaving I gave Mrs. Billingsly my name, address and phone. Who knows what will happen the next time we meet; I plan on offering dinner. I missed out on having a cast friend from the past two Trek shows and it's about time I got on the ball!

One of my strongest memories of my first con is who it was that brought me there; my mother. She could never understand my interest in science fiction and Star Trek. Constantly shaking her head as I joined clubs, went to conventions and spent untold dollars of lots of items that to her were piles and piles of crap. However, it was her who drove me to Boston for my first con and it was her who floored me by once buying me a very expensive Farberwear Star Trek dinner plate. It's amazing the small, yet poignant ways a parent can express love. I try to do that constantly with my own son. Luckily, we share some of the same interests. We are constantly talking about movies, cartoon shows, music and other topics that would bore other parents to tears. But, just like I smile and think of my mother when I pay a ridiculous amount of money for a chunck of fiberglass shaped like a TV prop; I hope sometime, when he's older, Johnny will think of me and smile when he looks at a Kid Rock CD we listened to together or SpongeBob Squarepants video we laughed at together.

Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

What a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

We had our date and it went perfectly! And most of it is a blur to me right now. That whooshing sound kept coming back.

I called our order in early so it was ready and waiting for us when we arrived. Perfectly executed. We sat and talked; getting to know a little about each other. There were only a few awkward moments when I stirred my soup, not know what to say next. We talked about our sons, work and a little bit of our histories.

I found out that she is 21 years old. She was born in 1982! If I knew that exact date, I could tell you where I was and what I was doing when she was born! I'm not bothered by the age difference but I know I'll get razzed by any number of friends and family. As a matter of fact I had passed this blog address onto my best friend Harry and he immediately started in on me. He called me at work, from North Carolina, to see if I had gone on the date yet. What a pal!

One thing about the lunch that I didn't know until I got back to work was that two of my friends, both major ball busters in their own rights, were two tables away from us the entire time. They were very well restrained, regardless of the temptation, and did not come over and harass us. One of them did tell me later that there is an elderly man who serenades them ever time they go there and they had planned on sending him to our table if he showed up. Phew! Dodged that bullet.

The reason I didn't see them was that I had tunnel vision the entire time. If I wasn't eating lunch I probably wouldn't have been able to tell you that I was even in a restaurant. All I could see was her. Damn, but she's beautiful.

She said she had a great time and agreed to a second date. Hopefully something with a little more time involved. I consulted three women and came up with a card and small decorative candle to give to her as a thank you gift. Something sweet, but non-committal. I am so going to take this slow. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize the possibilities.

Johnny has told me about his attempts to get a girlfriend. We were on the telephone once and he said to me, "Wednesday, I might have a girlfriend". I am looking forward to calling him and using those same words to him!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Tomorrow is "D Day".

That's "D" for DATE!

Yes, we are definitely going to lunch together tomorrow and I have never been more nervous in my entire life! I know I should have nothing to worry about because of all of the positive signals I keep getting. I'm just hoping that things go well and that this can develop into something good.

I lived up to my eccentric side today. As part of a morale booster program Liberty had what was called a "Compliance Carnival". It promoted knowledge of certain business and federal guidelines we have to follow and the reward for that knowledge was the ability to either throw a pie in the face or dunk in a dunking tank a member of management. We had our own portion of this in the pharmacy earlier in the week, but I had saved some chances so I could go to our corporate office and dunk the CEO.

Keith has a great sense of humor and is a wonderful sport. I was the very first in line. My second ball hit the target but did not dislodge the release holding him above the water. I was rejected. But, true to form, I hung around and when they called him to go to the pie throw I ran up and hit the release with my hand. Keith paid me back with a big wet hug.

Well, I spent a half hour trying on different shirt and tie combinations for tomorrow. I've been imagining and rehearsing different conversations in my head. I am sure it will go well. It's just that I have 14 hours of self doubt and nervousness to go through first!

Sure.....I'll sleep good tonight!

Like Al Gore on election night!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Well, I finally did it. I actually went over to the "young lady" at work and asked about the date. OK, so it took me from 9 - 11AM to build up the cajones to actually make it over to her desk. There were at least three or four times that I was within two steps from her and spun on my heels. It's amazing how she has turned a 41 year old man into a 14 year old teenager asking a girl out for the first time.

I used a work relation situation to break the ice. Then, I made "my move".

"I was going to call you this weekend", I said.

"You know, I was going to call you, too", she replied. She went on to tell me what it was. However, I couldn't hear her over the loud whooshing sound and the distracting white light of hearing a positive response from her. Once the blood returned to my head and my ears were working again I was able to continue.

I swallowed the dried out basketball which was lodged in my throat, "It had dawned on me that we haven't been having much good luck trying to get together here on Mondays".

"I was thinking the same thing", she answered.


Apparently, she couldn't tell I was shaking more than a jello factory on the San Andreas. "I was wondering if you'd be up for some kind of alternative?"

She smiled that smile which wounds me and said, "Sure, that would be great."

She went on to explain that weekdays are sometime difficult between work and taking care of her son. Made sense to me. We decided that weekends would be better. Again, the fates seemed
against us because of my plans to go to Orlando this coming weekend. So, we made our same tentative plans, this time for the next weekend.

I walked away, smiling and happy. Then all I could hear was my supervisor and Cheryl berating me for letting a prefect opportunity slip through my fingers. Everything the both of them had told me was absolutely true. She was interested, she continued to be interested, she kept on opening the door for opportunities for me. I was an idiot!

I was determined not to fail today.

“You know, I always remember the good stuff to say about five minutes after the end of a conversation. Want to hear it?”

“As long as it’s something good.” There was that smile again. Luckily, my eyesight was not affected by the whooshing.

I suggested possibly doing lunch together outside of work. She immediately countered with the fact that she had an hour-long lunch coming to her. Again, opening another door of opportunity. I was beginning to enjoy the whooshing sound.

I had done it. My heart was still beating. The sun was still in the sky. And a beautiful, young girl was seemingly eager to go out with me. Today was a victory on many levels. It was 6 years ago to the day that things started developing with a girl I almost ended up marrying. A long, ugly story which has haunted me for years. I was determined not to let that memory overshadow what happened today. I think I was so determined because of how strong a hold the past was having on me. I am bigger than a bad memory.

The one good thing I will take from that memory, and others in my life, is to learn and grow from them. Maybe, just maybe, if this turns into a “relationship” I can do the right things to make it one for the books.

Well, let’s get lunch out of the way first.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

I have been challenged by one of my best friends to get my ass in gear with this girl from work. My friend, Cheryl, and I went to the movies last night. (PLEASE go see the "Alien" re-release before it disappears from theaters! DVD is good, but nothing will ever replace seeing something on the big screen!) At dinner we got into a discussion about my lack of initiative. Cheryl and I have always had a remarkable relationship. We butt heads, we debate, we argue, we fight and communicate like no one else in my life. She can cut through the bull and give me the honest and true answer that was staring me in the face in the first place. I hate her for that sometimes....just because she has the talent to be able to do that.

One of those truths is that I have absolutely no reason not to make a move. All of my reasonings, rationalizations and excuses failed to hold water. And Cheryl was absolutely right. The times when I pointed out how ridiculous I knew I was being she looked at me with a look in her eyes where I could see she was holding back the impulse to whack me in the back of the head.

Friday, at work, the "young lady's" 3 year old son came into the office. I jumped out of my seat and tried interacting with him while at the same time trying not to be too much of a barreling freightrain. Any chance to make a better and stronger connection and I'll take it.

I know, know; "make the REAL connection, you idiot!"

Carpe diem, baby!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I just weighed in tonight and I have lost another 22 pounds since 10/9. This brings my total lost to 135. I now weigh 377 pounds! I am about halfway to my goal of 230. That is what I weighed at the time of my first marriage in 1988. I felt good then and thought looked good too. If my body decides to go further...BONUS. If I go below 200 pounds I'll kiss Dr. Vaughn on the mouth!

Everyone congratulates me on the wonderland job I'm doing. Hell, I was unconscious at the time of the surgery; the doctor did all the work. I am forced to follow the game plan at this point. If I eat too much, or the wrong thing, I puke. How hard is that to follow? I feel better than I have in years and am more than happy with my decision. I can hardly wait to see Johnny's face when he sees me again. Hopefully, Thanksgiving.

I feel like such a boob today. I have been trying to get together with a "young lady" at work. History so far, I got up the nerve to ask her to "get together sometime for dinner or something" and she said yes. Then our office moved and I didn't get up the nerve to follow up on the original invite. Then, out of the blue, she asks if she had given me her phone number. We exchanged numbers and she said that she goes to a particular club every Monday and we could meet there. Seemed like a nice, low-impact first date. Then she got sick the first Monday and had a "MONDAY" the following week.

As I stated in my last post, I did not want this possible relationship to be a regret. So, all day Wednesday I practiced what I was going to say; suggest an alternative date since our original plan seemed doomed. The words never left my head that day. All day today I kept muttering to myself, calling myself "chicken". I was trying to motivate myself to talk to her. Still nothing. I have Friday to look forward to my surpervisor and friend continually walking by my desk making clucking noises!!!

I am so gun shy of something going wrong and her losing interest that I'm made mute. I feel like I did he first time I ever asked a girl out. That was almost 30 years ago, I should be able to walk up to another human being and confidently tell her how much I want to get to know her and spend time with her because she is intelligent, intriguing and beautiful.


Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I just watched the latest episode of "* Simple Rules" and I cried like a baby. I was not what could be called a John Ritter fan, although I thoroughly enjoyed this series. It was the amazing way they told the story. It was a scene between the remaining family when they were discussing how they remembered their final moments with his character. The regret of the last words being angry, spiteful or hurtful. I immediately flashed back to a moment with my brother-in-law, Dick, after my father's death 25 years ago. I felt, at the time, that he had never known that I love him because I had never told him so out loud.

I wanted so badly to call my son when the show was over. He and I are always telling each other that we love one another. I am always hugging him and outwardly showing my affection for him. There was a period, when I was about Johnny's age, when I didn't want to kiss my father good night but opted to shake hands. It was a "getting grown up" thing. I felt so much more adult when I shook his hand instead of kissing him. MEN didn't do those things. I hope my son never asks to shake my had. I never want him to be standing by the edge of the ocean screaming to the sky that his father died not knowing how much he loved him.

A quarter century later, I know my father loved me and I know he was aware of how much I loved him. At 16 you just aren't coherent enough to realize such a thing. I will never take for granted those "unspoken feelings that we are supposed to know about each other. Those around me will always know how I feel.

This has also sparked my motivation towards the "possible new relationship" I've hinted about in past posts. I want as few regrets in my life as possible. The chance for good relationship and happiness is certainly not something I am going to let slip through m fingers just because I'm a little scared to talk to a woman.

To quote the Jack Dawson character in "TITANIC':

"Make it count"

Sunday, November 02, 2003

I was so wiped out from the talent show that this is my first chance to post something. Well, I did try last night, but my dinosaur of a PC died halfway through a really good riff. Hopefully I can get back on topic.

I was in so much pain Friday, I took some pain killer so I could sleep comfortably. Friday was a hoot in itself. Not only was I still coming off the high from the talent show, but it was Halloween. I went to work in my black and grey Starfleet uniform and a pair of el cheapo pointed ears. Hey, it was within Liberty dress code!!!

My love of Halloween and the talent show are all a part of the frustrated actor in me. If I could write about everyday things the way I have about Liberty, I probably wouldn't be working there! I was told once, years ago by a friend, that I would make a great character actor. That has haunted me since. In high school I had won a state-wide drama award; aspecial one created just formy performance. I never followd that dream, or my radio career, because I was too rooted to home. Now, I'm living 1300 miles away from what I still consider home and I'm still alive. What a dope I was. I keep watching celebrity interviews as they talk about thier childhoods and how they think of acting and life syaing to myself,"I used to do that" or "yes,that's exactly what I think"!! And I Monday morning quarterback my entire life.

As I've said in my first post, I am tempted to storm Orlando. That may still happen. Winter is big community theatre season here in FL, so I may give that a try as well; time and transportation considerations included. I just feel it's an itch that has to be scratched. I can't keep on just dressing up at work for the rest of my life when I feel I could actually make my work be dressing up!!!