About Me

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Watkinsville, Georgia, United States
We lost my beautiful wife of 20 years on 9/12/07. Lisa was my world she was my everything and now she is gone. We are learning to live without Lisa now. I say we because I am not alone. My children are stuck in this mess with me. These are my notes, my vent, my way of letting you all know that we are doing well (some days). This is for myself, my friends and my family that want to know how we are doing and what we are up to. Along the way I hope this might also help someone else who has been dealt a similar hand.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Going Commando

Success, finally… I finally got all my drawers installed and the base cabinets are in place.  I can’t wait to start loading all my tools into the drawers.  Of course, the easy work is behind me.  Now I need to mill all the wood for the exposed sides and drawer faces.  Once I get the finished drawer fronts and sides on, I can then put the nineteen-foot countertop in place.  That will have to wait for another day as my “mom” work is getting behind.  I was able to work for a few hours but called it quits early.  The laundry was build up and I needed to get on it before Matt was forced to go “Commando”.

Balancing all the things I need to do and want to do continues to be a challenge.  Gone are the days of spending an entire day out in the shop.  Sure I can still do that but it comes with consequences like being too tired to cook dinner.  While I could easily spend ten or twelve hours out there I find striking that balance is better for me overall.

Still, I do get a good deal more satisfaction out of building a set of cabinets than I do washing a bunch of dirty clothes…

Friday, January 29, 2010

Boyfriends and Detention

What a great day and a pretty darn good week.

I rounded the week out today by getting out early to have breakfast with Matt.  Nothing starts a day like a stop at the Waffle House.  The only problem was that Matt wound up dragging around and we got a late start.  He wound up being late for school and got detention.  He was not very happy about it either.  Talk about a fish out of water!  One of my kids in detention!  While I think its kind of crappy that he gets detention for being late just one time he did the crime so he will do the time.  I’m pretty sure that he believes it was worth having breakfast with good old dad.  At least I hope he believes that…

I was able to meet Abby for lunch.  We had a good visit and she let me know that she is ready for me to meet the current boyfriend.  She’s been seeing the aforementioned guy for a couple months now and I have yet to see neither hide nor hair of him.  Anyhow, she is going to bring him out to the house tomorrow night for dinner.  There’s nothing I like better than having the opportunity to give a new boyfriend the “stink eye”.  It should be an enjoyable evening.  Matt has suggested that we serve mint chocolate ice cream for dessert.  Matt wants to lace the boyfriend’s ice cream with wasabi paste as a practical joke.  I’m considering giving him the green light…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cape For Sale

I have always been a problem solver.  Heck, that’s in large part what I do for a living every day.  People come to me with problems and I solve them.  This used to drive Lisa up the wall.  Some days, she just wanted to vent and have me listen.  Instead of just listen I would jump in and tell her how to fix the problem.  It’s what I do…

When our world imploded and fell apart, someone had to circle the wagons and get us through it all.  It took me a while to get my act together.  Thank God the school lined up meals for us that first month or so... that’s about how long it took me just to figure out that I was not dying also.  I wound up putting on my Super Dad cape and stepped up to the plate.  I got organized, figured it all out and got it all done along with a lot of help from some very wonderful friends.  I find myself at a new crossroad however.

I am finding that I can’t always be Super Dad.   I am learning that I need to step back some and let the kids figure some things out on their own.  It’s hard to give up control when you’re a control freak though.  I don’t know how some parents do it.  I don’t know how they just seem to be able to step back and let the little birds fly from the nest.  Yeah, I’m a controlling neat freak of a parent but a lot of it is love too.  I love them and don’t want to see them struggle.  What parent that isn’t a thug themselves would want to see their kids struggle.  However, I’m smart enough to know that they do need to struggle at times to some degree.  It’s healthy for them and it presents learning lessons that they can carry with them the rest of their life.

So yeah, it’s time for me to step back just a little bit and let them do some of the heavy lifting. 

Easier said than done…

Oh and by the way, my fricking drawers didn’t fit!!!  That’s right, all 25 drawers were 3/16 too narrow.  Before I could install them into the boxes I had to take all five boxes apart and cut them down by 3/16 of an inch.  That took the entire afternoon and into the evening on Sunday.  I don’t even want to talk about it…

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Operation Squirrel Love

I guess they are on to me.  I guess these stinking squirrels around here are smarter than I realized.  I guess they realize I have a gun now and I’m not just out for a stroll in the yard.  Every time I try to nail one of these little long tailed, tree-climbing rats, they take off faster and faster.  I have been “managing” the squirrel population here on the farm ever since I figured out that they were eating my deck and roof fascia boards. 

It would seem that they have been leaning over the gutters, reaching up under them to chew on my fascia boards.  Also, they have been taking chunks out of my deck railings and posts.  It took me a little while to figure out what was going on.  It was some time before I actually caught one of them in the act. 

So, I have been taking them out one at a time.  I have “reduced the population” by about a half dozen or so.  The thing is now it seems that they have figured out the game.   I think it might be time for phase two of my plan to eradicate my problem.  I think it might be time to set up a bait station.  You know, make them think I have had a change of heart and lure them in with a false sense of security.  I may have to give that a try.

I got a lot done out in the shop yesterday.  I have assembled the last of the drawers for my cabinets and got the edged banding applied to the boxes.  The next step in this process is to install the drawer slides and then I can start moving all my tools to their new home.  I just don’t feel like doing it today though.  It’s a rainy and cold day and I still have the headache that I woke up with yesterday.  I think I’m just going to crawl back into the bed and think about phase two.  I bet squirrels like corn…

Friday, January 22, 2010

Level Ground

I am happy to see this week behind me.  I like level ground and this week has been more of a rollercoaster than I care for.  This is the kind of week that makes me wonder how Lisa did it.  She took care of everything around here with minimal help from you know who.

From the little fender-bender that caused Baby Girl to meltdown more than once to the flooded office I walked into on Monday morning.  It seems like the week has been full of surprises and little adventures.

I once again scheduled too much in one day.  I seem to run wide open every Friday but still don’t seem to be getting a lot done.  Today basically got chewed up with phone calls to the insurance companies and meetings with sub-contractors and shopping errands.

I did get to fit in a lunch with Abby.  She is obviously still shook up about the fender-bender.  I think she is more upset with herself about throwing more on my plate than she is about the actual wreck.  I hate to see her beat herself up too much about it but it’s good to know that it got her attention.  I assured her that there was no need to dwell on the matter and the best advice I could give her was to use it as a learning experience.

After lunch with Baby Girl I shot off across the county to take Matt some lunch.  He won’t let me actually eat lunch with him at school anymore but that’s fine with me.  I still got a hug when I dropped off lunch.

No I didn’t get to spend much time in the shop today but that’s fine too.  Heck I have spent more time in the shop over the last few weeks than I have in the past two years.  I hoping today was just a good start to a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wow, Wow, Wow

I have morphed a great deal over the last two years and four months.  I have grown, developed and changed permanently.  I like to think, mostly for the better.  I have gone from being a broken wreck of a grieving man to a functioning organized single parent.  I am and never will be the same person that I was prior to September 12, 2007.  However, I’m okay with that and don’t mind who I am now.  I see things much more clearly now.  I find pleasure and joy in small things that I may have taken for granted in a time past.  It’s almost like I have new eyes that are showing me the world in a totally different way now and I like what I see.
I like to think that I have presented a good example for my kids.  I like to believe that I have shown them that no matter what happens we will survive and continue to live life.  I like to think that one day they will look back and wonder how I pulled it off.  I hope that it gives them strength and lets them know that nothing is impossible.  I want them to look back and remember how very much I loved their mother and them.  I want them to believe in themselves and draw courage and support from what we have been through.  I want them to look back and see that while it has been rough and impacted us each in our own way, we made it.
I was brought to tears today for the first time in a long while.  Shortly after I returned to work from my leave of absence when Lisa died, I lost every single e-mail that I had ever sent her.  I was trying to archive them and just hit the wrong button and lost them all.  There were thousands of them from over the years and I accidentally deleted them .  I was devistated to say the least.  Today one of our IT people at corporate (Jennifer) explained to me that they had not been deleted and that she had found them in an old archive folder on a server at the corporate office.  She showed me how to get to them and I was shocked.  There they were.  Literally thousands of conversations between me and Lisa dating back for years.  Many of them containing messages from her letting me know how much she loved me.  As I read them, the tears just spontaneously started to the point that I could no longer read them.  I decided to leave them there for now and maybe come back to them from time to time.  Jennifer promised me that they would be safe there and that she would make sure that nothing happened to them.  I just hate that Jennifer wound up crying also!
I will no doubt go back to them from time to time…I might even share some of them with you all one day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Busted Bumpers and Thumbs

Today was another one of those days.  I walked into into a mess this morning at work.  We might have had a small roof leak over the weekend.  We had ceiling tiles, insulation and water all over the front office.  This is the way the day started and it just got better and better.

Abby and Matt were out of school today and being the ever thoughtful kids they are, they decided to make the forty-five minute drive to see their grandparents.  Just after they got to Lisa’s parents house I received a call.  Matt had slammed his thumb in the car door and tore it open.  Grandpa determined that no stitches were needed and wrapped it up before the four of them left to have a nice lunch out.

Then I got another call…  Abby had a fender bender on the way home.  She was behind a lady at a stop sign and ran into her.  It was nothing serious but just enough to prompt a full-blown meltdown for Abby.   You know the kind.  The kind where they try to talk between the crying and sobbing and you can only understand a couple of words they say.  It took me a minute to calm her down and get her wits back.  Once she calmed down a bit, I told her what to do and assured her that since nobody was hurt it was not worth getting so upset.  The damage was minimal and cars can be fixed.  As things proceeded I kept in touch with Matt via cell phone.  He was the model of calm, reassurance and understanding.  I was glad that he was with her and I hope she appreciated his presents.

One more phone call from Abby once she got home to tell me how sorry she was.  Of course that prompted more crying.  I, again, gave her reassurance that things could have turned out a lot worse and that as long as nobody was hurt, it’s all good.

I am sure tomorrow will be a better day, besides Matt has another thumb.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No Words

Sometimes there are just no words…  Last night was one of those times.

Abby was having a bad day and was not feeling very well so she called her dad.  I tried to be a good listener and offer a minimal amount of fatherly advice.  However, no matter how good a relationship we have I’m just not her mother.  Try as I may, I have no way to fill that void.  When she wants that motherly touch.  When she needs to talk to her mom and not just another woman.  I knew the words were coming when the tears started.  Those words that hurt to the core.  The words that I have no reply or comfort for.  The words that once again remind me how much it hurts her.

I miss mama – I wish she was here – I miss her so much.

These are the words that I can’t make go away.  The words that I struggle to reply to.  The words that cause me to be at a loss for a reply.  I feel so inadequate when those words are spoken.  I feel so helpless.  I struggle every time they are spoken.  All I can say is I know sweetheart I know.  I miss her too and I’m sorry she’s not here for you.  Unquestionably, inadequate words to say the least.   Sometimes there are just no words…

Today was a productive day.  I managed to get the dust bunnies rounded up along with knocking out a couple of loads of laundry before heading out to the shop.  My cabinets are coming along nicely.  I was able to get the rest of the drawer parts cut out and about half of the 25 drawers assembled.  The rest of them will have to wait until next weekend.  If my drawer slides don’t show up this week, I’ll once again be stalled.  Hopefully they will show up some time this week.

Several years ago I had a bunch of Leyland Cypress trees sawed up into lumber.  They came off a farm not far from here.  I’m going to use these for the cabinet faces and drawer fronts.  I will leave the wood its natural color with just a clear coat of polyurethane.  I can’t wait to see the final product.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shop Time

The week has come and gone.  Matt's car is still in the shop so yesterday I took him to school after we enjoyed breakfast together.  

I finished things up at work Thursday and yesterday I finally got the opportunity to spend some time out in the shop.  I actually got to spend the entire day out there.  Unfortunately, it seemed like every ten minutes I was being interrupted but I still enjoyed my time.  My place turned out to be a hotbed of activity yesterday.  The guys that have been working on the exterior carpentry and paint actually had good enough weather to work.  I finally got a third landscaper to come give me a bid on the work I want done and Baby Girl came by after her classes were over.  

Having Abby come out and spend time was probably the best interruption.  She even came out into the shop and sat on a stool to talk to me while I continued to work.  We had a good visit and talked about a number of things.  She, once again, is suffering with sinus drainage and a sinus infection.  Man, I thought I had bad sinuses.  She definitely got all that from me.

I am planning another day in the shop today.  Yesterday I used a specialty concrete to level the extremely un-level floor and got the cabinet base built and installed.  Today I am going to start on the drawers.  Matt wants to help so we are going to work together to knock them out.  We are going to work most of the day and then take in a movie tonight.  It's supposed to rain most of the day so it's going to be a good day to be in the shop.  Sure the house could use some cleaning but what the heck...the dust bunnies will still be there next week!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Things First

Okay so I didn't get to spend any time in the shop today either but I did get a lot of other things done this weekend.  I was tempted to skip church this morning and get out there but I'm glad i didn't.  While I do have a long list of projects that I would like to complete, they can all wait.  The list includes; shop cabinets, headboard and dresser for Baby Girl, window seat and bookcase for spare bedroom, tack boxes for the barn, adirondack chairs for the yard and those are just the ones I can remember right now.

First things first, however.  I have a busy week ahead... We have Matt's car in the body shop so we have to work out transportation to and from school along with his extracurricular activities.  I also have to adjust staffing at work.  Business has not picked up and it looks like we will have to once again reduce our staffing.  This is the one part of my job that I really don't like.  Giving a person a job is a whole lot better than taking a job from them.  While its a difficult task, it must be done for the good of the whole.  Additionally, I have some evening meetings concerning the work I am about to have done here at the house.

I suppose I will work though it all.  Being an organization and neat freak actually has its benefits when I have a busy week like the one coming.  I also finally broke down an purchased a lap top this weekend to help me stay organized.  Not to mention, it sure is nice to be able to sit in my big comfy chair and work rather than at my desk. Heck you might even get to hear even more about my relatively boring life at this rate

Saturday, January 9, 2010

To Plan Or Not To Plan...

I never did get into the shop this weekend and tomorrow is Sunday.  Like Mike Tyson said "everybody's got plans...till they get hit".  Well this weekend I got hit.  I got hit with a lot more to do than I had planned on.

Friday got chewed up due to meetings.  I had meetings with a couple of Lanscapers and my General Contractor for the kitchen remodling work.  Then it was lunch with Baby Girl and then errands.  Heck, a guy has to get a hair cut!  By the time I got back to the farm, the day was shot and Matt was on his way home.

I had planned on doing some house work this morning and then getting out there this afternoon.  However, I never thought that it would take most of the day to "take down Christmas".  I finally got it all put away and took the tree to the chipper by mid afternoon.  Now it's time for dinner and the day is basically shot.  I suppose it's just as well considering the fact I dont have any heat in the shop and it was only about 13° this morning.

What the heck, there is always next weekend!

I have a big pot of vegatable soup on the stove and cornbread muffins in the oven.  Matt will be home for dinner and then we are going to try and take in a movie.

You never know, I might even be able to find some time after church tomorrow to spend in the shop.  Maybe if I DON'T plan on it, it will work out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow & Saw Dust

The phone rang at 6:15 this morning and of course I about jumped out of my skin.  It turned out to be the automated school phone system reporting that school has been postponed till 10:30 this morning.  Temperatures have hardly gotten above freezing all week and last night we had a very small amount of rain and snow mix.  Matt will no doubt be very happy to sleep in for a few hours.

It’s good to be back on a day to day schedule.  I started back to work Monday and Matt started back to school on Tuesday.  As always, I miss being at home with the kids.  It’s hard to leave them behind after being together for the past two weeks.  The last thing Matt told me on Sunday night was that he was sure going to miss me Monday.  To know that he will miss me as much, if not more than I miss him does my heart some good.
The week has flown by and I am looking forward to getting back into the shop today.  My goal is to at least get the parts for my drawers cut out today.  Then tomorrow I can spend the day assembling the drawers.  I need to make 25 drawers and each drawer has two sides a front a back and a bottom for a total of 5 parts or a total of 125 parts that need to be cut out.  Once I get everything set up it should go pretty quick since most of the parts are the same size.  Once I get the drawers made I will need the slides that I ordered.  The only problem is they are now on back-order.  Hopefully, they will get here before I need them.  I am building up some momentum on this and don’t want to get sidetracked again.
Having the holidays behind me will help.  It seemed like nobody wanted to do anything over the last few weeks.  I sure am glad that I did not start the kitchen remodel before the holidays.  I am, however, hoping to get that project going within the next couple of weeks.  I also finally found a landscaper that actually acts like he wants a job.  Hopefully he will get me a price and start work within the next couple of weeks.  I am not holding my breath however.  You would think with the economy in the tank I would not have any problem finding people that want work.  Go figure…

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holidays Done

Finally, it’s over…  I made it through another Christmas and New Years.  All that’s left is to take down the tree and haul it off to be shredded into a small pile of mulch.  I have, for the most part, enjoyed my time off the last two weeks.

I spent a lot of time with Matt over the last two weeks and Abby basically just popped in and out when there was not something better to do.  We made our annual trip to Callaway Gardens to enjoy the lights and funnel cakes.  My brother Mark and his family were able to spend a few days with us.  It’s always great to have him and his crew even if I do tend to get a bit anxious with that many people in the house.

I did finally find some time to devote to finishing up my shop.  I spent the entire day on Saturday working in my shop.  I was able to get all five boxes for my base cabinets built.  The next thing to do is build the drawers while I wait for the drawer slides to be delivered over the next week or so.  I must say, it was good to spend the day in the shop.  It’s been far too long since I have had the smell of a saw dust on me.  I am already looking forward to getting back out there and doing some more work.

Overall, my time off was enjoyable.  It was not a terrible Christmas break but it was not a very memorable one either.  It was just so-so.  I suppose if there was a poignant moment for me it would have been New Years Eve.  It was basically a nice evening.  We spent the evening with Mike and Barbie.  A wonderful couple of dear friends that had over for dinner and a movie.  Thats Barbie with William and Matt giving their best Capt. Morgan pose.  We got home around 10:00.  Matt had a sleep over buddy, Abby was out to dinner with her current boyfriend and there I was, alone.  When midnight finally got here, I was alone and all I could do was turn out the light and go to sleep.  I don’t want to do another New Years alone.  I am going to make more effort to get out and meet someone that I can spend some time with.  While I have many wonderful married friends, I don’t think anything can replace a one on one relationship.  Besides, I have no interest in being alone for another New Years Eve…