Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sacrifice

Dear Diary:

Hello. If I were a really good Catholic, I could tell you exactly when Lent ends. I have been told both Easter and Palm Sunday. If I was a good Catholic, I could tell you myself.

But, I am not a good Catholic by any stretch of the imagination.

I am not even that religious. Spiritual yes, religious, no. It's sometimes difficult to explain, particularly when I give up something for Lent.

This year I gave up something that I enjoy. Sometimes I enjoy this particular thing too much. Sometimes this particular thing has brought about major life changes, and other times it has induced serious discomfort. That particular thing I gave up is alcohol.

Yes Diary, I have not had a fucking drop of alcohol since Lent began. Yes Diary, this year was the absolute worst fucking year to give up alcohol by a long shot. The combination of obscene work hours, intense pressure, milestone dates, first BBQs, and so on and so forth, made the last so many days seem like a tornado. But not just any type of tornado. We are talking the type of tornado that is hurling around motor homes and throwing entire houses 500 miles.

So yes, there have been countless occasions where I could have used a nice cold beer. And yet, I have not had a drop.

There have been receptions, work related dinners, special events, social functions, etc., where I have not had a drink other than a Coke or glass of water (with a lime of course, cause that's how I roll).

There was the bottle of maple syrup infused whiskey that my mom sent me that I have not touched yet.

There is that bottle of wine that I bought to celebrate when my house was pretty much finished.

There was the date I had with Girl 9 where I explained that I gave up drinking for Lent and she looked at me like I was an alien (although after explaining it to her, we both laughed and she was impressed with why I gave it up).

Now, for me, Lent is not so much a religious thing, but rather a personal sacrifice and test of will power, personal strength, and determination. Now, I could probably do this any time of the year, but I have to admit, I like the fact that the period of Lent does the counting of days for me. I like that there is a beginning and an end, and I like that I can focus on myself.

Now, honestly, after the first week or so, not drinking wasn't a problem at all. When I found myself at events where alcohol was passed around like it was water, and I then had to explain to people why I passed up on drinking, they were shocked at first, and impressed thereafter.

But, similar to writing, I am doing this for me, and not for anyone else. And, come Easter, I will do something else for me:

Have a cold one

Diving In, Again...

Dear Diary:

I had a date last night.

Yes, you heard me right. I did have a date. For the moment, we shall refer to her as Girl 9. Yeah, I know the math doesn't add up. What happened to Girl 8 right? Well, there was a Girl 8 and thankfully that date only lasted about two hours and I was saved by a friend who stumbled (almost literally) into me while I was out with Girl 8. I think I need to buy that friend a beer, or a car.

Girl 9, well, that date was completely different. My date with Girl 9 was great. I enjoyed the couple of hours we spent together walking around and talking. She is very interesting, fun, and has a smile and laugh that can make you melt.

So, I guess you can say I am diving back in to the great unknown of dating again. This time though, I am diving feet first. You never know what is under the surface, and the thought of having my head split open is, well, not that appealing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why Do You Listen?

Dear Diary:

I have written on why I write, but why do you listen?

Is it that my life is that interesting? Because honestly, it isn't. Is it because you are trying to find some type of reason in something? Because I can offer nothing as far as enlightenment goes.

Do you listen to me because you want to see if I am going to write some off the wall bullshit that leaves you laughing so hard you shit yourself? Well, I must admit, while I have laughed while writing some of this stuff, I sincerely hope you haven't had to change your shorts as a result of my words. If you have, I might have to invest in toilet paper (and I am talking about on the market, not buying enough to survive an apocalypse).

Do you listen because you can relate? If you can, that is good, I guess. However, I hope you cannot relate to everything. Lord knows I have had my share of fuck ups in this life.

Do you listen because you understand? Well, that's kind of like relating isn't it? So I guess I just asked this question twice, didn't I?

Do you listen because you need some mind numbing shit to read at the end of your unbearably long day? If so, maybe I should sell subscriptions. Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!

Do you listen because you are bored, and need something to kill time? If so, see above. Still need those shoes!

Do you listen because you have nothing better to do? If that is the case, I suggest a hobby. Maybe something along the lines of pottery, or world domination.

Or do you listen because you get it?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Divorced Guy's Rules For Online Dating

Dear Diary,

As you know, I have been giving this online dating thing a try for a good while now. And while I have definitely enjoyed myself, I do understand online dating is not for everyone. That being said, when you live in a fairly large city where life moves at an insanely fast pace, online dating is definitely an option to consider.

With where I live and with what I do, I do not have the time to go out all the time and try to meet people. Oftentimes, after work has kicked my ass, I do not really want to be near anyone. I would much rather work out, rent a movie, and relax. So, for me, online dating is a positive.

Also, as ironic as this may sound, it is not easy to meet people in a city. For instance, there could be that one person out there for you and you will never, ever, meet them just because of the number of people that live in your area. I mean, even though she still lives in the city, randomly enough, I haven't even randomly run into my ex, so what are the chances that I will randomly bump into my next?

Now, that being said, online dating does have it's drawbacks. For instance, a person can look like a model, yet have the IQ of a piece of granite. Or, they could not be one's general "type" but could actually be the most interesting person in the world. It's hit or miss. So, what it boils down to is that online dating is all about putting yourself out there and taking a risk. Think of it as meeting someone at a bar, minus the alcohol and hefty bar tab.

But, as anything, there should be some fucking rules, and guess what, I have some for you. So, let's begin.

-If someone sends you a message, respond in a timely manner. The response can be positive, or it can say "thanks, but no thanks," but, for the love of all that is good and holy, respond. A timely manner can be days, but it shouldn't be a few weeks. This shit is not free you know.

-Don't ever sign up for just a trial period. If you are going to take the plunge, don't be a pussy, and put some cash down. You do not have to sign up for a five year membership, but you can't give it an honest try if you try to be a cheap chicken shit.

-Don't be desperate. People do not generally want to read that you are looking for your soul mate and someone that can make you happy. Are you saying you are not happy with yourself? I am looking for someone to date and get to know. I am not looking for a project. I have enough of those with my house thank you very much.

-Don't get discouraged. Like I said, dating in a city, particularly a very busy one, is not that easy. Understand that people actually do have shit that they need to take care of, and are not sitting by the computer waiting for their prince or princess charming to come sweeping in. If someone doesn't respond right away, don't worry. However, don't be a idiot and wait a month and feel sorry for yourself that they never said hello. Like I said, timeliness is key, but, it should also be within reason.

-Be proactive. Do not wait for people to contact you. If you like what you see, then contact them. Do not think you are so fucking special that everyone must come to you. That is high maintenance, and if that is the case, there is probably a good reason you are resorting to online dating to begin with.

-Pictures are important. Now, please do not put up a picture that was taken three years ago unless you haven't physically changed other than your hair. Be honest with your pictures. Also, be wary of close-ups. People want to see what you look like, but they do not also want to see how long your nose hair is.

Now, these are just a few simple rules, and I am sure if given more time, I could come up with a few more, but, I am tired, so you will just have to deal with it. I will say though that if you are going to try online dating, be positive, and be open minded. Online dating is as much about meeting and getting to know other people as it is about getting to know yourself and what you are ultimately looking for. You may find out that what you have in your mind as your ideal person is completely shattered, and for the better.

Take risks, enjoy, and have fun.

The Divorced Guy

Silence

Dear Diary:

I am alive, I just have nothing to say. I am going to go back to nursing my burn that I received when pulling a very hot cup of coffee out of the microwave.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Insert Catchy Title Here

Dear Diary:

I have nothing noteworthy to tell you. I have nothing profound to say. I have nothing inspiring, nor inquisitive for you to ponder.

But polyurethane, yeah, that I have. And paint brushes, those I have. And toxic fumes that I am breathing in, oh yeah baby, I have those too.

What I also do not seem to have is time. Let's take yesterday for example. Woke up, cooked, coffee, laundry, sealed brick, swept, ran errands, and got home at 8:30. That was my day.

Fortunately, I think I can say that I only have about 15 of these types of days where I am combining taking care of normal things with working on the house. However, when broken down to the actual days that I get to work on it, those 15 days become 15 weeks rather quickly.

The funny thing is that I have the list of things to do in my head and while it may seem simple, it really is not. For instance, this is what is left on the house, right off the top of my head:

-Seal brick in living room and master bedroom with polyurethane coat
-Paint trim in living room
-Paint trim around half-bath, first floor
-Paint trim in hallway, second floor
-Touch up paint around lighting fixtures, both bedrooms
-Buy electrical box cover, install, and cover with plaster
-Install sweep on front door
-Touch up paint in master bathroom
-Paint interior doors
-Buy futon for guest bedroom/den
-Seal, and paint, windowsills in living room and master bedroom
-Buy new towels
-Buy new bedding
-Have deck built
-Buy custom shower door for master bathroom
-Caulk, everything

Not a bad list right?

But, everything has to be done in a certain sequence for the most part. For instance, I cannot paint the trim in the living room before the brick is sealed with a polyurethane coat because the tape will not stick to the brick otherwise. Also, I cannot seal the brick in the master bedroom until there is some warmer weather because I need proper ventilation because you really are not supposed to breath in that shit.

And then of course there are the miles and miles of blue painter's tape that I have to use to make sure everything is as clean as possible. And then there is the clean up. And of course the time I have to wait while everything is drying.

And somewhere, I have to find the time to fit in the shit that I actually need to get done, like make meals, work out, and run normal errands like grocery shopping and buying new t-shirts.

And of course you are probably thinking, "blah blah blah cry me a fucking river."

It's true, right now, my life is pretty good. At a few months shy of my 32nd birthday, in the course of fourteen months, I have gone from having lost my home, the life I thought I had, and being $40,000 in debt as a result of the divorce, to owing a home (yes, the papers were signed two weeks ago), being almost debt free, and looking forward to the life I will have. Not too shabby right?

But that doesn't change the fact that I need a vacation. A real vacation. Preferably somewhere warm. With a beach. And cold beer. And scantily clad ladies who fan me with palm leaves. But I will take three out of four.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anger Cannot Be Dishonest

Anger cannot be dishonest
-Marcus Aurelius

Dear Diary:

I like to look at quotes every so often. Sometimes I look for funny ones, and sometimes I look for the simple ones that resonate. The above quote resonated.

When are we are most honest? Is it when we are happy? I don't think so, for when we are happy, we oftentimes will say or do anything to keep that feeling of happiness.

Is it when we are sad? No, I do not believe it is, for sometimes we will try to find excuses for why we feel a certain way.

Is it when we are afraid? No, I do not believe it is, for we will, depending on the situation, say or do anything to alleviate that sense of fear.

But when we are angry, watch out.

When we are angry, we release that which has been kept inside us. We explode with such a ferocity of emotion that we find truth. We see who we are at that very moment. We understand why we feel a certain way. We tell people what we really think.

Anger is honest because it is real. In that very moment, we are true to our feelings, and true to our thoughts.

However, that seems to beg the question of whether or not we are our true selves when we are angry, or when we are not angry? If there is honesty in anger, are the times when we are not angry just glimpses into our real selves?

I called my ex-wife a cunt in anger. Did I mean it? Yes. Did I believe she was at that time I said it? Yes. I told her I hated her in anger. Did I mean it? Yes. Did I honestly hate that woman at the time I told her I hated her? Yes, yes I did. Did I lash out and do stupid things in anger (like fuck every single woman that I could)? Yes, I did.

But, am I am monster because in those moments of anger I let flow all that I was feeling and thinking? No, I do not believe I am.

I was just being honest. I think I was just being honest because at that point, I had nothing left to lose.

So, in a way, anger is freeing. Anger provides a mechanism for a release that we otherwise would not have reached. So, on that basis, anger is healthy, right? I mean, what is healthier, to keep what we are feeling bottled up inside, or to release it in order to get it out of our system?

I believe that releasing it provides the ability to grow, and move forward. Think of it this way. If we were to just keep everything bottled up inside, then it would eat away at us and stunt our growth, because we would be so fixated on that which was bottled up that we lose perspective on what is happening in the present. Without that release, we live in the past, and we let it fester inside ourselves until it destroys us.

They say the truth will set you free, and if anger cannot be dishonest, then anger reveals the truth (however brief it may be in that particular instance) correct? If that is the case, and in anger we can find truth, then anger is nothing more than a mechanism to set us free. It sets us free of our emotions and thoughts.

And this may be why it is such a necessary step in healing, because it allows us to move forward.