Severe Miscalculation

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Since Sunday, maybe even before, my little corner of the world has been warned of some extremely bad weather coming our way on Tuesday and lasting through Wednesday.  If you follow the weather the way I do, then you know of the devestation and loss of life throughout the south due to the same weather that is supposed to be hitting us in north-central North Carolina. So like any weather geek with multiple weather apps on their phone and ipad, and weather sites bookmarked on their computer, I have been glued to them all…

watching…

waiting…

expecting…

I even began planning what I would do should an emergency present itself due to the weather. If at work, make my way to the central hallway or meeting room that is centrally located in the facility. If at my parents’ picking up my dog after work, make way to either of the bathrooms (the basement is full of instruments of death should 300 mph winds come about). If at my apartment, find solace in the bedroom closet with my better half and our dogs.

See…all figured out. Safety first, as they say.

The anticipation is almost gut-wrenching!

What you may not know about me is that I am a nut for thunderstorms. I love them. Always have. I enjoy sitting, or standing, out on the porch (covered of course) and watching the lightning flash and the wind blow and the rain pour from the sky. Sure, I get spooked from time to time and common sense prevails, telling  me to get my ass inside, and more often than not, I listen. I’m not without at least a little working gray matter upstairs. But, I love thunderstorms, so a sick and twisted part of me gets all giddy when I see a severe thunderstorm watch come up on my little weather apps…a severe thunderstorm warning is something akin to Christmas Eve. I know… there is something wrong with me. You don’t have to say anything.

You can imagine the level of anticipation I was feeling yesterday when I checked my weather apps first thing yesterday morning. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ALL DAY TUESDAY AND ALL DAY WEDNESDAY…lots of yellow, orange, and red on the future-cast radar…80% 90% 95% 100% chances for the foreseeable future. Call me a kid at the candy store with mom’s credit card.

Excitedly, as excitedly as first thing in the morning prior to coffee, I went through my strict weekday morning routine and headed off to meet the day ahead, watching the horizon and nearby sky for hints of the impending shit storm that was to be coming our way.

I drop my dog off…

Nothing.

I get to work…

Nothing.

Not so much as a little gust of wind. A little drizzle, which, I do not have to tell you, is about as annoying as it gets when it comes to weather…you can just never get the windshield wipers to wipe at the perfect interval.

Immediately, I check the weather.  The severe weather has been pushed back to beginning at lunch.

Great.

I check again at lunch time…it has been pushed back to starting during the midafternoon.

Check again at midafternoon, around 3ish, pushed back to dinnertime.

Check again…check again…check again…check again…

Pushed back…pushed back…pushed back…pushed back…

You can imagine my displeasure.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad my entire world has not been blown away. I’m glad I still have my life, my wife, my dogs, and my stuff. BUT not even a rumble of thunder…hell…not even a strong gust of wind…bigger hell…not even a gust of wind…barely a breeze…just dull, boring, gross gray sky and drizzle.  DRIZZLE!

My wife stayed at her place of business last night, being the good boss and facility director she is, in case anything catastrophic happened. I stayed home with my dog, expecting at any moment to be awakened by a freight train of wind and to hurry into the closet. I woke up multiple times to check the radar and the forecast to see that, again and again, the storms were pushed back. No awakening to rumbles of thunder or flashes of lightning or the pelting of rain or hail on the window by the bed, and awakening to the dull gray sky, the same sky I saw all day yesterday, this morning.

I know predicting the weather is not a perfect science, far from it. Lots of unpredictable things happen in a seemingly predictable world, but…damn (I was hoping to be a little more profound, but that’s all I’ve got).

I’m still looking at that gray sky now…still waiting…still watching…still checking…though expecting less and less.

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Relax…

 

imageI came across this litte gem a few days ago on Facebook, and a thought came to my mind…

Who on earth wants to be an adult?

Maybe I was a weird kid, but the last thing on my mind was wanting to become an adult.  Work, bills, a mortgage, rent, car payments that seem to never end (like a mortgage), health insurance, and a plethora of other things adults have to handle were NOT my aspiration.  Oh, and kids and raising a family…definitely were not on my to do list when I was 15.  Truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted at all at that time.

When I turned 18 and graduation loomed on the horizon, I knew I wanted to go to college, and I thought I knew what I wanted to do.  As it happens, I was wrong, as are a lot of teenagers. I know a lot of folks that did know what they wanted to do, and have done it. I even know some that began doing what they wanted to do, saw that it wasn’t up to the snuff they thought, and then found other things to do.

The fact of the matter is that too many are in too damn big a hurry, and… AND, this little piece of wisdom illustrates, there are things that people are supposed to do as they come of age.

We are supposed to become adults.

We are supposed to raise a family.

We are supposed to have a career.

All of those came before living life without failing at it.

There is my thought in a nutshell. Life is not about the things we are supposed to do. There is more to living than that. Living is doing what you enjoy and figuring that out for yourself. I’m learning that slowly.

I am big on routine, so big on it that my most regimented routines are more like rituals. If one piece of the routine goes wrong, then chances are my whole day is screwed.

I like plans. I love it when a plan falls perfectly into place and runs itself flawlessly. If one part of the plan comes undone, then panic mode immediately sets in, impatience ensues, and the world as I know it comes to a grim and bitter end.

Some may think I’m being a bit melodramatic. Just ask my wife if that is an overstatement. I’m working on it though, It helps that my wife is the most spontaneous and erratic individual that has ever graced the earth.

It comes and goes, more going than coming at this point, but my patience with life will grow. My patience with living life will overcome. I will survive.

The rituals and knowing what we are supposed to do may make life easier and more manageable, but it does not necessarily make it better. One never, ever knows what is coming around the corner.

So, I would boil down this little proverb into two words.

Relax. Live.

That is all we really have to do.

Perfection, even if the coffee sucked!

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This weekend was perfect, and I mean perfect in every sense of the word. Perfect weather, perfect timing, and a perfect partner. Everything about it was perfect. I cannot think of anything that could have made it better.

I have missed it…the feeling of no cares or worries. Nothing about work, no bad news concerning family. Just me and mine enjoying a perfect weekend together…just the two of us! Good food. Good times. Good drink. And the best company.

I cannot believe how well the weather cooperated. It seems like the rest of North Carolina went straight to severe weather hell, but not Charlotte. Perfect weather for a late afternoon walk to dinner. Perfect weather for catching a ballgame and perfect, PERFECT, weather for the late night walk back to the hotel…not to mention the perfect weather we had all day on Saturday for the many miles walked around downtown.

Well, there was one thing that was not perfect…the coffee (or so it was called) from Dean and Deluca…awful…plain awful…the antithesis of perfect, but that did NOT destroy the weekend or even the morning, but damn, it was awful. Needless to say, I am not friends with either Dean or Deluca…good riddance, and take your shitty coffee with you!

Beyond that misery that was supposed to be coffee, there is not a single thing that I can think of that would have made the weekend better, and that is the way weekends should be!

 

Impulse

“Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know…” ~Jerry Mac

Though based on a quote by Will Rodgers, I’ll give Jerry the credit…

Just browsing my facebook status feed and came across this gem posted by a friend of mine, and thought about how it relates to something else I have been working on.  I’m doing some soul searching of sorts; attempting to discern what is needed versus what is wanted. What makes it so hard is the fact that, with a little ingenuity, one can justify pretty much anything they want as a necessity.  I do it often…not necessarily to impress anyone, but to add a little “pop” to my life or to make my life easier or to make it possible to do the things I want to do.

I can be an impulse shopper.  I try not to be, but it happens. Usually the way it goes is I see something I want and I say, “I’ve got to have that,” or, “I’ve got to try that.”  Usually, or maybe sometimes, my brain kicks in and searches out the necessity of what it is I’m seeking to purchase. It will find a reason most of the time. I may not be able to buy it right away, but it goes into the bookmark file of my computer or in the back of my mind as something that will be purchased at some point in time.

I’m going to leave it at that for now because I don’t want to get into a thought that I haven’t fully worked through just yet. 

Need vs. Want is complicated!

A Muddled Thought from a Muddled Mind

So, I’ve been writing a bit more lately, both on here and in my little notebook of observations, quips, and thoughts. I’ve been reading, too…  A LOT.

I’ve come to learn that there are more than a few good writers out there, and by out there, I mean…well….out there. Wherever there is.  I read stuff that makes me chuckle. I read stuff that makes me think. Stuff that makes me smile. I’ve come across sad stuff, fun stuff, happy stuff, and other stuff.

I like it.

Different styles.  Different points of view. Different people.  It is all entertaining, informative, and educational.

I see writers that break the rules. I see writers that keep to the rule book.  I keep the rules I want and throw the others out, especially when doing my free writing. It makes it fun!

I’m working on something that is going to take some time to put together…time and a lot more thought than I have used in a long time. It may even require a little research.

I need more time in the day.

This whole “work” thing gets in the way.

I’ve got lots and lots to say.

But the lack of hours and minutes

keeps my fingers at bay.

And with that, I will end this little free writing session.

Looking out the Window at Work…

It’s a slow day, so I thought, “why not write?”

Truth is, I am bored at work. I mean…really bored.  So this will end up being a bunch of rubbish from start to finish. Sometimes I just like the feeling of typing something out. Always have. I can remember when I was a kid and our old Tandy computer with no games on it. I would find my way to the word processor and just start typing. Nothing of any real consequence (like this), but just typing. Maybe not even real words, just jibberish like this…

ajkekmenjdn dikenyeooie ,fnliha wusndimfb vi fjknf fhjs nsl,fnlufhyrnosnuemdnaha.

I don’t know why. It is just something I would do when I was bored…kind of like now.

There is somethng that has me thinking this morning, but I’m not quite sure I am ready to tackle it just yet. I did leave a bit of a cliffhanger with one of my previous posts asking what do I want to see concerning being the change one wants to see in the world.

As I sit here at work, that comes across my mind as a pretty complex question, and one that I probably shouldn’t try to answer, but sometimes it’s good to go with your gut. So here goes…

What do I want to see?

I want to see a world without apathy. I want to see a world where people care about something beyond themselves and their wants. I want people to consider others when they make decisions. I want more empathy in the world. I want to see more people care for one another. I want a world without labels. I want a world that is inhabited by human beings. Not Europeans. Not Americans. Not Asians or Mexicans or Latinos or Hispanics or Whites or Blacks or Chinese or Japanese or Italians or Greeks or Germans or Turks or Iraqis or Iranians or Christians or Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus or Sikhs or Eskimos or Canadians (don’t ask me why Canadians came up last. I don’t know). I want to see people live according to their fullest potential and see them happy doing so.  I want to see myself living according to my fullest potential and be happy doing so. I want to see a world without regret. I want to see others living without regret. I want to see others and myself learning from those regrets and no longer regretting them. I want the poor to no longer be poor. I want the sick to be healthy. I want to see it snow. I want to see the sun shine. I want to see it rain. I want to see the wind blow. I want to see the sun rise and set. I want to see the moon.  I want to see the ocean and the tides.  I want to see a world where possibilities are realities everyday. And right now, at this very moment, I want to see food because I am starting to get hungry.

What do you want to see?

More on Living and Being Alive

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about this since posting it yesterday.  I always come back to one glaring question.  When the writer talks about “life” and “aliveness,” what, exactly, is he talking about?

To most evangelical Christians, or maybe I’m just inferring or assuming this, but to most evangelicals, the life being talked about is the life given where one is “born again” in Christ.  Essentially, having been saved through the Spirit and decided to live more according to the rules set forth within the Bible or the Church.

However, when I consider other things the writer has written, I know that to not be the case.

Everyone, saved or not, has the ability to live this life.  Everyone can receive it, and we can all bring it to others. What the writer is referring to is the idea of the awakened soul or the self-actualized person.  Each lives to their fullest potential, using the gifts we have to bring positive and constructive purpose and change to the world around them.

Imagine a world where everyone was awake within…feeling alive and, as the writer states, bringing “aliveness” to others.

I admit the idea seems less than realistic.  Not everyone could possibly tap into their full potential, right?

Well…

Why Not???

Personally, I believe it has to do with one word and one word alone…

FEAR

I admit it.  I fear a lot, and fear holds me back.  What is it that I fear most of all??

Failure.

FAILURE!

There is nothing that will bring me to a halt more quickly than believing that I will fail.  Nothing crushes my hopes quite like the realization that failure is possible.

For a long, long time I have called myself a realist, and I base that on knowing that failure and disappointment are real.  They exist, and they matter.

But for those living at their fullest potential, does that matter?

I struggle with this, I admit.  I am well set in my “realist” ways, and those ways are difficult to break.  I’m working on it, though, and I’m sure I can get there.

One thing is for sure.  The state of mind is much, much more pleasant and infinitely more free, and THAT is what matters!

Living and Being Alive

“But I say the priority of the Christian life is for us [to] receive life, and having received it, to be like Jesus and bring life, give life, to have our aliveness bring aliveness to others.”

Philip Gulley, “The Awakened Soul, pt. 11: Life Giving”

This one has had me thinking ALL DAY.  Though written by a Christian writer, I think it has universal implications, much like “The Golden Rule.”

What do you think?

Also, I’m pretty jazzed about the fact that I have figured out how to insert a hyperlink.  It doesn’t take much for the technologically inept to feel an immense level of pride in small technological accomplishments!

 

Elastic House

So, a couple of weeks ago I found House on Netflix.  This is probably one of my favorite TV shows for several reasons.  One of which is the depth of the main character, House.

I won’t go through a detailed biography of the character.  If you know the program, then you know the character.  If you don’t, I invite you to watch an episode or two, perhaps three or four, to get an idea of him.

I was driving home from work a couple of days ago and I had a thought.  What if there was more to the show?  Let me give you this much.  Each episode begins with someone getting sick or getting into an accident of some kind.  Then House and his department take the medical case and discern what it is that is wrong with the patient.  Typically, it ends up being something completely outlandish – something that no one would ever consider.

This begs the question, how do they come up with their diagnoses? They use a lot of conversation among one another, conversation with the patient, and conversation with the patient’s loved one or ones.  With each conversation usually comes some kind of medical test or exam.  Only a handful of times does the cost of those texts or exams come up.

And there is the genesis of my thought…

I could give you an exhaustive list of tests, scans, and exams that the characters use to find their diagnosis and save the day, but I won’t.  You rarely see the patients or their families after the fact, but one can imagine the mountain of medical bills that have been issued.  There is little talk of insurance coverage beyond the doctors’ (mainly House’s) malpractice insurance.  Yet, it cannot be denied that huge costs are incurred with every decision the patients or the doctors make.

It reminded me of a time some years ago…

My ex’s dog got pretty sick. I was at home with our dogs and she was at school, and her dog, Misti, began pooping blood.  Needless to say, I completely freaked out. I called her, left a message.  Called my dad to get in touch with his sister (a veterinarian) to get her to call me.  After I talked with my aunt, my ex called and told me to hurry to campus and pick her up. She got an appointment with a vet in town.

Once we got to the vet’s office, the attendant at the desk asked us if there was a limit to the treatment we could afford.  My ex, without hesitation, said, “there isn’t any.”

And there, there, is the point.  I read something once, and it has never left me.  Essentially, what it said was that the founding fathers of our country, knowing that the cost of national defense is infinitely elastic because security is paramount to establishing a stable society, socialized it.  At the same time, the medical care of those whom we love, or ourselves, is quite the same.  How many of us have ever told a doctor not to perform a test on ourselves or a loved one because the test will be too expensive, especially if one is really, really sick?  Personally, I don’t know anyone that has ever done so.

Back to House… I believe that one of the underlying purposes of the show is to illustrate that point.  People will pay whatever they need to pay in order to ensure that a doctor, or doctors, can find the cause of an ailment.  They will consent to the test.  Occasionally on the show, there is a lack of consent.  Not because of money, but because the treatment or test is perceived as too dangerous. They will knowingly consent to the debt without question, and why wouldn’t they?  People want to be well.  They want to live as long as possible, and they want their loved ones to do exactly the same, regardless of the possibility that the debt incurred will live long after they are gone.

If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but I don’t think that I am.  This is something that I will probably continue to mull over in my mind.