May 2012

Dear Dad,

How you doing old man?  It’s been a long time.  Happy birthday!!  How’s the afterlife going?  Is it cool?  You would have been 58 today.  So, what have you been up to?  Telling tall tales to all the Angels and Jesus?  I’m sure they enjoy your stories.  Have you been looking down on us much?  You should see your grandkids.  Dad… They’re growing up so fast.  Aaron is going to be a Junior in high school, and Tris is going into the second grade.  Aaron, being a teen, doesn’t talk about it much, but Tris misses the hell out of you.  He still remembers you, even though he was barely one when you left.
I’ve been doing okay. My leg is healed and  I’m working again.  I got a job working for Josh.  Remember him?  I’ve just been missing you a whole lot lately.  On my birthday, almost nobody called me, but the thing that affected me the most, was the fact that I’m still not used to the idea that you can’t call and sing me happy birthday anymore.  It’s been six years, and I still can’t get over the fact that you’re gone.  It doesn’t affect me on a daily basis, but some days, I just break down and cry.
You taught me a lot in life, and for that, I’m forever grateful.  You taught me what it means to be a real man.  Not being a “tough guy” or an asshole, but how to buckle down, and do what needs to be done, no matter how painful it might be to do the right thing.  You taught me a love for life, that can be enjoyed even during the worst of times.  You taught me that no amount of money or material items is more important than family.  You taught me how to keep moving forward, even though sometimes it seems as if there is no point to continue.
I’m sorry I wasn’t a better son when you were alive.  How many times I could have come to visit, and didn’t because I figured I could to it later.  I’m sorry for all the trouble I caused while growing up.  All the times I mouthed off and disrespected you.  We had some pretty bad arguments, and I remember one time, it almost came to blows.  But now that I’ve been a father for so long, I realize that none of that ever affected your love for me.  Just because we have a warped views of the world as kids and teens, doesn’t make a parent love us any less.  All we can do is hope that one day, our kids see the truth that we are just as lost as they are, and trying to do the right thing.
I know you didn’t feel like a good father either.  You were a great dad!  You did your best every day to give me a life that you didn’t have when you were growing up.  And even though we didn’t have a lot of money, I always had clothes on my back, and food in my stomach.
I’m sitting here this morning remembering you.  I can still hear your laugh, see your happy smile, and feel your arms around me as you gave me hugs.  I miss you so much dad.  I can still feel your hand in mine during your last moments in the hospital.  I can remember the look in your eyes when after three days in a coma, you opened your eyes and looked around the room at everyone.  I remember telling you it was time to go.  Your eyes settling on mine, squeezing my hand, and taking your last breath.  It still seems surreal.  I don’t regret for a second, being there for you during that time though.  I only hope when my time comes, my kids will be there for me as well.
Well, I have to get going dad.  Look in from time to time.  I like thinking that maybe in some way, you still look out for your baby boy.  At least I still get to see you every time I look into the mirror, or into Tristan’s  face.  In that way, you still live on.  I hold you forever in my heart dad.  Take care old man… I love you!!



In memory of Harold (Behr) Rupe  1954 – 2006


So… I turned thirty two yesterday.  I remember how my father used to call me and sing me happy birthday no matter how old I was.  I really miss that.  I woke up and it took about ten minutes to realize it was my birthday.  It really didn’t matter considering I had to go to work, but I was kind of exited anyway.  I have always been exited about my birthday, even after I grew up and stopped getting so many gifts.  It’s the one day I feel kind of special.  All the family that couldn’t care less calls and tells you happy birthday, and pretends to take an interest in your life.

I get ready and get to work early… I like to sit outside of work for awhile to get mentally prepared.  The longer I stay at home, the more I want to call in sick.  lol.  My mom called me and also invited me over on the weekend after she gets home from church.  I don’t agree with my mom, and have many issues with her… but she’s my mom, and I love her dearly.  My boss, who is like a brother to me, also wished me happy birthday.  I had to contact my bank, and my banker also wished me a happy birthday.  That was cool.  So I went through my day at work with my phone on silent, just kind of being selfish, and waiting to look at my phone at the end of the day, and see all the messages from friends and loved ones, telling me how much they wanted me to have a great day.

I wanted to wait until I got home to look at my messages, so I put my phone in my pocket and went home, prepared to respond to everyone.  I got comfortable, pulled out my phone, and….. not a damned thing.  Not my brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…. nothing.  My ex wife didn’t bother to have the kids call me either.  Not even my stepfather, who lives with me said a word.  Well, I know it’s just a birthday, and really no cause for celebration.  If anything we should celebrate our mothers on the day.  But it still hurts like hell to have only one member of your family wish you a happy birthday.

Oh well, I guess I’m done whining and lamenting about how my family doesn’t love me.  I just needed to get that off my chest.  Have a good day everyone.

    You know… I’m tired of people trying to blame their mistakes on others.  People have an extreme aversion to taking the blame for anything in this day and age.  If I make a mistake, I cop to it.  Even if it was an extremely dumb mistake, and it’s really embarrassing to admit to.
There is a guy at my work who blames everything on me, or if that fails, just blames it on nothing.  I swear his favorite thing to say is, “Wow… that’s weird.  It wasn’t like that when I printed it out.”  with a confused look on his face.  I’m trying to figure out if he is stupid, or just lazy.  There was a small part missing from an order shipped to one of our customers, and when asked about it, he said, “I’m sure it was in there.”  Then proceeded to ask me if it was.  I was pretty sure it had been, but I couldn’t be sure. I have been in a tornado, trying to learn everything there is to take care of this job, and clean up the old guys mess.  Then he said I should have double checked his work.
Directly in front of my boss, I said, “In a perfect world I would have checked it… and should have, but I was in a rush.  Sorry.”  Now, I am not a fan of passing the buck, and I take responsibility for the missing part, because I was the last person with the order in my hands.  But I also feel that if I have to double check his work, why bother having him on the crew?  I could do his job right the first time, and I’d be more than happy with my pay plus half of his.  Thereby saving the company half of the money they pay him.
I have noticed that usually it’s members of my generation and below that have the “scapegoat” attitude.  But this guy is in his fifties.  I don’t mean that all of my generation is lazy, but the majority will lay blame on anything but themselves.  His generation however, usually takes responsibility.  I guess it shows that not everyone falls into the standard category that one would think they should be in.
I will gladly take the blame though.  I know my boss, and the owner of the company see what’s going on, and are watching him.  That’s the advantage of working for a five person company.  Also, the more of his work he pawns off on me, enables me to learn his job as well.  I’m not usually a vindictive person, but I will happily wave goodbye the day he is canned and I take his job.
Remember, just because someone is nice, does not mean they are a doormat.  Just because they will go ahead and do what you tell them to, even though you aren’t their boss, doesn’t mean they are an easy mark.  They could just be showing the boss that not only are they capable of doing their job, but yours as well.  Think hard before pulling a stunt like this if you value your job.  Because it just might get pulled out from under you.
Have a nice night everyone.  Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I’m enjoying fantasizing about taking this chump’s job. 🙂

As Jesse sat up, he tried to shake the images of his fever induced dreams away.  They had been horrible.  At first, the dream had been the one he had been having for the last two weeks.  he was in the bar, and fighting the man that had bitten him.  It was pretty much the same, except he was a spectator.  It was like a camera in a movie scene, positioned so he could see the scene, and his own face.  After he knocked the man down, he jumped on him and kept attacking.  He used his fists to bludgeon the man’s face until it was unrecognizable as a human.

In real life, fighting was not something Jesse enjoyed, unless boxing gloves were on.  In this dream however, he was thoroughly enjoying it.  Every punch sent shivers of pleasure through his body.  Drops of blood spattered his face, and he was laughing.  He stopped hitting the man suddenly and looked around.  Everyone had scattered, and were looking at him with fear.  “A man has to eat!”  he yelled at them,  “And I’ve been hungry for a long time!”  With that said, he opened his mouth and leaned into the dying man, tearing a hole in this throat.  Blood ran in rivulets down either side of Jesse’s mouth he made smacking noises, while chewing the bits of flesh.

“What the fuck was that about?”  he questioned out loud.  He looked at the clock and realized that he was almost late for work.  He called in, and let them know he was running late, and went to the fridge to grab a quick bite to eat.  He didn’t really feel like eating after the dream he just had, but he had to make sure to keep his body healing.

He grabbed a banana, but his eyes fell on the raw steak sitting on the second shelf.  His dream flashed again in his mind, and made him feel like he was going to vomit.  He put the banana back and shut the fridge.  He wasn’t going to eat after all.  Instead, he washed some aspirin down with water and left for work.

Macdougall’s wasn’t far from the broken down apartment that Jesse currently called home, so he walked to work for the evening.  He was hoping the clean, Autumn air would clear his head a bit.  The dark streets were comforting to him as he made his was quickly to work.  A man walking the other direction wasn’t paying attention and bumped into Jesse as he passed.  “Why don’t you watch where the fuck you’re going asshole?”  Jesse said, as he turned around to face the man.  His fists immediately clenched up, ready for a fight.

“Hey bro… chill out.  I’m sorry.”  Stuttered the man, as he started backing up, obviously not wanting trouble.

Jesse’s brain was on fire, and screaming for him to kill this man.  He forced his mind to calm down.  “No… I’m sorry man.  I’m just not feeling well.  Just try to watch where you’re going.”  The man looked relieved as Jesse turned and continued on his way.  Jesse was still trying to figure out why he had reacted that way as he walked through the doors to work.

The lights were dim, and the music loud as he came in, and made his way back to Macdougall’s office to let him know he was there.  On the way he spotted Claire, a woman who he had been talking to quite a bit lately.  She spotted him and waved as he passed.  He smiled at her.  “Hello there beautiful.  I’ll be back in a sec.  Running late tonight.”  He said as he passed.

Macdougall was in the back, waiting for him as he came around the corner.  “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!!”  He exclaimed.  “You look like shit!  Are you sure you don’t want to take the night off?  It’s been quiet here since that crazy guy bit you, and I can handle anything that happens to pop up.”

“I’m okay man, seriously.  I just woke up from a nightmare, and realized I was late, so I had to run in.”  Jesse lied.  “It’s nothing a couple shots can’t fix.”  He said, as he grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels off of the desk.  He took a long pull from the neck of the bottle like a practiced alcoholic.  “There.  All better… see?”  The color started to come back into his face.

“Okay boyo.  I’m going to let you work tonight, but I’m watching you.  If you start to seem too ill… I’m sending your ass home.  Maybe you can take that Claire girl you’ve been talking to so much.”  Macdougall said with a wink.

Jesse smiled at the thought.  He would love to take her home, but that wasn’t his style.  He had a habit of talking to girls and never making a move.  He was afraid of rejection, and this was one girl that he did not want to be rejected by.  She was perfect in his eyes.  He walked back out to the bar, scoped everything out, and sat down next to her.  “How you doing tonight hon?”

She put a hand on his arm, “I’m doing well, but you aren’t looking so hot.  I mean…” she stuttered and blushed, “You’re always hot, but you don’t look like you’re feeling well.  Maybe I should talk to Macdougall about getting you to take the night off.  I’ll take you home and take care of you.”  She smiled as she patted his hand.

Well… so ends another season of lacrosse for the San Jose Vipers U9 league.  We have had a great season this year!! Today was the Surf City Tournament in Scott’s Valley, California.  It was a beautiful day, and I could feel the buzz of excitement before I even went to sleep last night.  In fact, it was a bit difficult to fall asleep.  Lol.
My son and I awoke, pre-dawn to get ourselves prepared for the days events.  He was all smiles and cocky attitude on the way to the event.  To tell the truth… so was I.  We arrived early and scoped out the fields that were set up for play.  We lounged around a bit awaiting the rest of the team.  As they started to show up, the boys started playing and bragging about how many goals they were going to score, and how awesome they were.  The parents chilled out with each other and watched the kids practice before the game.
They amazed everyone with the way they played today.  They were playing like they were fighting for their lives.  I assume it must have seemed that way to them.  As I watched, not just my son, but the whole team, I felt a surge of pride that I could barely contain.  These kids were up at the crack of dawn to come out here and show the other teams what they were made of.  I think they did a damn good job of it.
In the end, we lost an elimination game in the semi-finals due to a horrible call by the official.  While part of me wanted to go throttle the guy, there was a part of me that thinks the boys needed this loss.  They have grown cocky over the season because they have only lost three of fifteen games.  I think they needed the lesson in humility.  Don’t get me wrong… I really wanted to see my kids win, but you can’t always win.  That is something I would like them to learn now, instead of having a harsh lesson later in life.
We put too much emphasis on kids being special nowadays.  While it is true that all of our children are special… it is also true that if we cottle them too much, the real world is going to be one hell of a slap in the face when they realize that they really aren’t that special in the grand scheme of things.  I would love to give my son the world, but always letting him win, and telling him that it was unfair that they lost is only going to reinforce the idea that the world owes them something, and if they don’t get what they want, they can blame it on someone else.
Instead, I told my son that, yes… it was a bad call, but it happens in sports sometimes.  The official doesn’t have the same viewing angle as everyone else, so sometimes he is going to miss things.  That’s why they have so many officials in professional sports.  His uncle told him that the best way to get back at them, is to come back next year and win.  We have agreed to train during the off season, and I told him I will help him with whatever he needs.  But I also told him not to expect to do too well next year because we are losing eleven of our thirteen players because they are moving up in the age bracket.  So next year we will have two returning players, and a slew of new ones.
I am happy to see that he is dedicating himself to becoming a better player over the off season.  Let’s see how long it takes him to say he would rather play video games instead of train. Lol.  That’s it for now I guess.  Have a great evening everyone. 🙂

    I often wonder how people manage to handle stuff that stresses them out. I get frustrated, and my brain shuts down as I get overwhelmed. I don’t usually yell or anything, I just shut down, and when I’m super frustrated, tears threaten to fall from my eyes. When this happens, people tell me to calm down. How the hell do you all do it?!
    I know it’s not the end of the world, but I can’t stand it when people say it. I really wish I could stay calm and not shut down, and it’s something I’m working on… but everyone acts like it’s nothing.
    Yesterday, work got really hectic at my new job, and I had a million things to do, but was being pulled between them all. I couldn’t figure certain things out, and with everyone busy, I was pretty much on my own for awhile. My boss (who also happens to be like a brother to me) finally found the time to help, and found me completely at a loss. I had gotten so frustrated, that I couldn’t even talk anymore without stuttering. So when he told me to calm down, I snapped at him.
    “I’m trying to be calm, but it’s not a switch that I can shut off. Frankly I’d like to know how the fuck you guys seem to make it so easy to stay calm! I’m not you, I never have been! You all act like I’m full of shit that I can’t calm down! Do you honestly think I fucking like being stressed like this?! How the hell do you do it?! Huh?! What’s your secret?! I prioritize, I step back, breathe deep, walk away… Nothing helps me calm down except getting my job done. How am I supposed to get my job done when I ask questions, and literally everyone tells me they don’t know the answer?! I swear, if I didn’t enjoy working with you, and wasn’t so determined to basically take this place over… I’d fucking walk!”
    He let me rant, and then proceeded to help. He’s a great boss and friend. I have known him for 16 years, so we know how to deal with each other by now. I really do wish I could shut off the stress, but being that I’m further behind where I thought I would be at this point in my life than I was just coming out of high school, it’s a bit tough. Life has blessed me with a couple great friends and 2 wonderful kids, but it has also raked me across the coals and back.  So I get a little stressed. Lol. I’m tired of being a nobody. I’m tired of working for shitty pay, I’m tired of being a “ditch digger”
    It’s funny that people act like a life of physical labor is easy. It sucks, but the world needs men like me. I might not have a degree, or be able to do excell spreadsheets, or have meetings with important people. In fact, for most of my life, I’ve been considered, “the help” and looked down upon because of my social status. Well I would challenge any white collar worker to do some of the jobs I’ve done in life, and make it through.
    Anyway… I’m getting ready to head into work now. Sorry, but I just had to rant a bit. It’s the one thing that I’ve found that helps my stress. I just try not to do it too often, lest I become just another dramarama. Have a good day. 🙂

    This is my youngest son’s second year playing lacrosse. I have had the pleasure of being assistant coach for this season, which I’m happy to say we only lost 3 games. Even though in the under 9 league, we have tried to instill the fact that winning is not important. But as my son pointed out to me one day during an argument about training and attitude, “It’s not important to you, but to us, it is.”
    It has been amazing to watch the kids grow and learn how to play the game. But the best by far, has been to watch the bonds that they have formed over the course of the season. They have had great times, and bad as well. There have been celebrations, and arguments. And a couple times, I have seen them lash out in anger.
    A team is like a second family. There will be times when they don’t get along, but when you step back and take a good look, they really do love each other. I came into this family with more than a bit of trepidation. As I know the head coach did as well. I wasn’t sure I could do anything to help these kids focus, and practice. In truth, I was afraid of failure. I was afraid that the kids wouldn’t listen, and the parents wouldn’t like me. But, as I was once told, if you never step out of your comfort zone, you will never know what you are capable of.
    I have done what I could this season to help in any way I could. Anything from running some drills, to cheering up kids with hurt feelings or helping the injured kids out. My main mission this season, was to put smiles on their faces and watch them grow as a team, and enjoy something I never had the opportunity to. I believe I did a decent job.
    I remember growing up, and for my short time in college, I wanted to be a teacher. After this season, I now understand why. I love seeing something I teach, take root. I love the smile on a persons face when they get it. And I love the thought that maybe in some small way, I have made a positive difference in a persons life.
    At the post season party, there were awards being given to the children. It brought tears to my eyes to see the pride on their faces as they received their 2012 Vipers shirts. They were ecstatic about them. They have sweat, bled, and played together. They have won and lost. They have helped each other on the field. And I have no doubt that one day they will look back with fondness at the times they spent together.
    Then came the gifts to the coaches. It was odd to find myself included in this. I don’t usually think much of myself. I certainly am not used to praise of any kind. So it was a blow to my emotions to receive a shirt, as well as a card signed by all the team members. I managed to keep my composure, but I wanted to cry. I have never in my life felt like I have belonged to a group. I have never fit in. I have always called myself a lifelong student of life, but sometimes it takes awhile for lessons to sink into my brain.
    Besides the kids, the parents have been amazing as well. I have enjoyed our talks, and interactions. I am saddened that so many will be moving up to the u11 league next year, but at least we will still all be on the same team… just different age groups.
    There will only be two kids left on the u9 team next year, but I will never forget the kids who taught me a valuable lesson in life this year. I have always tried to listen to my elders, and have never really thought of children as teachers, but thanks to the 2012 Vipers I have learned that I finally belong… I finally fit in.
    Thank you all for being there and sacrificing your time for your kids. It’s great to see so many people out there at the games.  Thank you all for a great season. 🙂

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