Thursday, June 14, 2007

Watch out for deer

I sit... typing on the computer. The house is quiet except for the whir of fans trying to keep the house cool. It's late and I've only been home for 10 minutes. It was a long day. It was so long that it started yesterday.

It all started when I decided to walk to the grocery store in 100 degree heat....
"C'mon Ady, let's go to the store, we want to get something special to make mommy for supper tonight."
"Are we walking Daddy?"
"Yes, we're walking, mommy has the car, let me get Jaden's shoes on."
"Are you ready yet daddy, Daddy, daddy, are you ready?"
"Not yet sweetie (I almost always call her sweetie), I need to put Scarlet out first. Oh, let me check to make sure we have money. "

The Internet is great, I can check all of my finances and spend money like crazy online, I was just reading at ZenHabits the other day about eliminating credit card addiction, and it also said to eliminate the debit card. Pull out cash and use the fixed amount, if you don't have the cash, you can't get it. I do basically the same thing, but by keeping an eye on my balance online.

"Uh-oh, Ady, we can't go to the store, we don't have any money."

This is so not cool, why does it say my balance is negative and I'm being charged overdraft charges, oh crap, my house payment went in a week early, 10 days actually, it's not supposed to be submitted until Friday. On no. I screwed up!!!! It hits me like a ton of bricks, too cliche? It hits me like a man who's in the whole and knows that several more overdraft charges are coming, as well as the pain of dealing with the missed payments. It hits me hard. I know, call mom and dad, they can fix everything, if only they could loan me a few hundred dollars. If they can get it into my account today I can be good until Friday and then pay them back, I already have the money coming, it's just a scheduling problem. . . . . No answer. CRAP!!!! How the hell am I going to fix this? How to stop the bleeding? Look for the cut, fill it, with what? No money. Hrmmmm... Can I cancel any of my payments or stop them? Nope, they are already all there, crap, I don't have an account to move money from, I don't have my parents answering their phone to help....... I'm stuck. Then another realization hits me. I'm stuck. It's time to stop worrying about the problem. How can I recover afterwards now.

"Are you ready now daddy?"
"Not yet sweetie, I just have to check a few more things, watch Laurie Berkner again"

It's just money. I'm barely squeaking by, and I have over $500 in medical bills unpaid sitting in front of me, but I can do this. No I can't get out of it quickly, but I can get out of it. I'm not missing payments, and I'm not really in the hole, it's just an aberration. Let's see, I get paid on Friday, this is a 3 paycheck month, and I have this much in unpaid bills. Even with the late fees, if I cut out our dinners out this month, and pay minimum balances instead of the extra we've been paying, then we'll almost break even. We can do this. It's only money, and I'm not going to lose anything. beed-beed-beed-beed.... What is that sound?

"Daddy the phone is ringing!"

Without my Ady telling me, I'm not sure I would have noticed. It snapped me out of my cool calm relaxed dealing with it mood.

"You're on your way early"
"Not so good, I screwed up. I paid the house payment early and we're in debt."
"I can't do that. I did that. That's not how it works, The bank won't help us out.. That check has already cleared, the won't put money back into the account"
"I didn't tell you because I need help, I told you because...Ok, I understand." click
"I love you."

Bleep. What? My cell phone is dying, I better go plug it in. I still need to get that walk in. Special dinner is out, but I can still get Ady out to walk like I promised her, that at least is free.

"C'mon Ady let's go for a walk."
"You're ready nooowWWW?"
"Yep, let's go"

It's a nice walk, and for the temperature being what it is, I think it's actually kind of cool. After we get close to the 1 mile mark Ady starts complaining that it's too hot. So we head back towards home, I was hoping for an extra 3 or 4 blocks, but it is hot and she has been such an angel on the walk, Jaden, he looks groggy in the stroller, but he's stayed awake. As I get home, Erin is starting the car back up. I wonder where she's going? Oh, I don't have my phone, I bet she's going to find us.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, we're here"

Did I seriously just make it sound like she was a horse that I was reigning in? No, she's more like black beauty, wild and free, all I can do is enjoy her.

Then, today.
I got back to work after 2 days off. It was nice being home, I got a lot of things done that I've been wanting to do (that's another post later maybe), but I was eager to get back to work. Today is the first deployment of the application I've been working on for 3 months, it's the culmination of our effort that will be heralded as a great triumph, it's going to be awesome. Why isn't it working? Hrm. Things are different in live than they are on test. I wish I could say I swooped in to save the day, but I barely know the language, and I only know the name of the server, not any of the admin functionality, so the best I can do today is stay out of their way, and get working on what I need to for the next release (only 6 weeks away) that I'm already 2 days behind on (that number sure seems familiar). Tomorrow is going to be great, Briana has a softball game at the high school in Clinton, we're going to take the kids over, spray the heck out of them with Off, and soak them with sunscreen, then sit and watch 2-3 hours of girls softball. Go Briana. I'm going to get Jonas tonight, so he can watch too.

4:50 There's an outage. I think there's actually a scheduled 4:50 outage on days that I need to do something after work. They pushed it back though, when I was getting off of work at 4 the outage was always at 3:50.

5:25, I'm finally leaving work. It's 30 minutes later than I planned, but I'll eat in the car and make it no problem. I just need to stop at Burger King, they have the veggie burger that no one else seems to carry. 5:32 I have my order in and the receipt in my hand. There is no one in the drive through when I walk into the building and the guy in front of me has already ordered and is standing waiting for his food. 5:48, I walk out of the building. Four cars have come in ordered, got their food and left through drive through. The guy in front of me and 2 orders after me have their food. How long does it take to microwave a veggie burger for 1 minute? AHHHH!!!! Thankfully this is all in my head, as is the thought. It's OK. I've been here many times before and they are usually really good. I've never waited this long for anything here before. The people have been friendly and smiled, it's going to be OK. When the food comes, finally, instead of yelling at them, I simply say, "it shouldn't have taken that long, that's disappointing, but thank you for the food and the kind words". Then I take my food and leave.

I'm not really sure who I am right now. That's twice in about 24 hour that I have been completely not me. I think I finally realize that in the whole scheme of things, neither the money, nor the poor service are going to hurt anything in my life, unless I let them. I call Trish and let her know I'm running late, she won't have to hurry quite as much now because of the stuff that held me up.

It's a nice calm drive. I talk to Erin for a while, I get to my parents and check my email, Trish calls and says she's on her way, she's maybe 15 minutes later than I expected her, that's not bad at all.

Trish and Jonas show up and Jonas gives me a father's day present, a nice hand made painting. As she's getting ready to leave she tells me he hasn't eaten dinner yet. Yikes!!! It's 8 PM, I got to get some food in this boy. I feed him before we leave my parents house, Chicken breast and an apple, not the best meal, but healthy on short notice.

Jonas is great on the trip home, we talk for over an hour about anything and everything. He tells me about some of his made up friends, he tells me about some of his real friends at Auntie Leora's house and that he plays soccer and basketball with them. That story really excites him and we talk about it for a while, then he's tired and asks for some relaxing music, like Billy Joel.

"Dad, do you have Billy Joel? That song I like, Piano Man, that's a relaxing music, I could listen to that."

I look, but no Billy Joel. Ah well, I'll find something softer on the radio, the baseball game's not coming in well anyway.

9:30 or so, Jonas falls asleep.

I pull out of Gibson City and a car is really behind me, not right on my tail, but behind me and I can see it catching up with me. That's not unusual, I've been driving right at the speed limit to try to save on gas mileage and it's working to about 3 miles a gallon. It doesn't take long for the car to catch me so I pull the to right some to let him see that nothing is coming and he can get around. Nothing... This guy is not passing me, he's riding right on my bumper and not passing me. This sucks, please pass me, I just don't want your lights in my mirror anymore. After almost 30 miles, and me staying below the speed limit after going through a small town, I'm fed up. In the next town I'm going to pull into the gas station and just wait until he passes, I don't like being followed like this. I'll skip the first gas station, because everyone stops there, and if he stops then I'll be really freaked out. Good he's turning. No he's not, he let a car past him now he's pulling back out. What is up with this, why is he following me, nobody dekes like that unless they mean to. This is when paranoia has set in completely.

** Flashing lights **
The car that passed him is a cop, I better pull over so he can get to wherever he just got a call to. There's no way he's pulling me over, I'm driving the speed limit, I come to full stops... I... he's pulling me over. What the heck, am I being confused for someone else? Is there a problem with my tail light?

"What's the problem officer"
"Sir, the reason I pulled you over is the light on your license plate is out"
"Sorry, I can't see that while I'm driving"
"It's OK, you just need to get that taken care of, but also there was a report of you swerving. Did you notice the car following you?"
"Yes, he's been right up on me, his lights are bright, I've waved him around, I've been driving slow and staying to the side of the road so he can see around, I don't understand why he's not passing. I was about to pull over into the Casey's gas station (half a block further) to let him pass. If he didn't I was going to call the police."
"Well, he's an off duty deputy sheriff and he noticed you swerving a little, have you been drinking?"
"Oh GOD NO! I just went to pick up my son"
"Can I see your license." (I produce my license and after some digging find my newly renewed insurance card still in my work bag instead of the glove compartment, I'm glad I stuck it in there to be put into the car).
"Just a minute sir"

Wow, well, the nerves that I had are gone. If that car would have passed I would have been fine, no drinking for me, I don't even remember when I had a drink last, I think it was when Tim and Jessie were over and I ate them terrible X13D Doritos that made me want to vomit.

"I'm going to just give you a verbal warning about the light, he acknowledges that he saw you wave him around. I'm sorry about this, you understand though, at this time of night, we'd much rather be safe than sorry."

Without any anger or frustration, I can respond. The situation is already complete. I feel whole. This is so strange. Where is the angry, frustrated I have to have it now, Steve that I've been for so many years? Have I finally grown up? Are my priorities finally right? Wow, this is an odd feeling, I want to keep it, it's a good feeling.

"That's OK officer, I'd rather have you pull me over to check than have a drunk get away with it and hurt somebody."
"You be careful, it's only about 18 more miles to go, but the dear are out"
"Yeah, but it feels like 37, it's the longest part of the trip. Thank you officer"

He turns off the extremely bright spotlight, which was even worse than the headlights behind me. I take off and immediately think. Now I understand why that car was behind me, he was protecting me and watching over me. Ady is so cute, she's only 3, but when I leave she tells me, "Be careful dad, watch out for deer".

I guess I better keep doing just that, I never know what kind of deer will jump out in front of me, but I know I'll be alert and ready to handle it. Thanks sweetie, I needed that.