Month: March 2014

Family

WHY?


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There is a question I’ve asked myself countless times, over and over but never with an answer. There are things I can think of but nothing I can pin down as the exact cause. Why am I getting divorced? I  thought about it in 2007 when I first thought it would be over then again in late 2008. Forward to 2014 and I’m to the point of no return, it’s done. Still the question is being asked in my mind several times a day.

As a man, and this may be true for other men as I suspect it is, when I am confronted with a problem my reaction is to find the answer and apply it accordingly. The key is being able to find the answer because without it you can’t solve the problem. When there is no obvious answer I begin to look inward and pick myself apart focusing on my own faults, things I’ve done and improvements I need to make. Self reflection is good. Self improvement is good. Thinking that by doing those things you will improve your standing with someone is not so good.

Back in 2007 I lost around 20 pounds the first time I thought I might divorce. The second time, a year later, I lost around the same and this time perhaps 10-15 pounds. It’s old hat, the impact is not the same but it still shakes me. The worry and stress of my family breaking apart has been really hard. Again this time I’ve gone the path of searching for the answer by looking at myself and blaming myself for this however I’ve been unable to solve this problem because I could never find the answer as to why.

Today I was talking to someone about this and I asked why. Their answer was,“Do you plan on spending the rest of your life wondering why? You should try to make friends with the unknown and your pain because you can’t be in a relationship with someone who wants out. Accept your reality. Prepare yourself physically, emotionally and financially for life without her. Stop asking why. Start asking what do you want now.” And “Accept you will never know why. This has been about her – not you.” 

In truth I have not been the perfect husband but I’ve worked really hard to be a better husband. I’ve put in the work, gotten the help. I’ve tried to reach out and connect but nothing I did would matter, I never felt like my efforts were appreciated and in the end they didn’t make a difference to her. Actually they made a huge difference. The difference is I am a better person as a result of self-reflection and my willingness to work at being better.

From this day forward I vow to never again ask myself why I am getting divorced. The point is moot. It’s time to move on and instead of asking why I will ask myself, what do you want now?

Memories, Nature

Go Fly A Kite


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KIteKite number five at our favorite hill. This time I didn’t skimp on the kite buying.  Instead I visited a local hobby shop where they sell the real deal, a large span kite made of cloth. It was the easiest to fly too only requiring a slight wind.

Michigan, Nature, Photography

Fall Trail


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Fall Trail

Before this harsh winter there was green grass. I could still walk the trails even late into fall but it seems like once that first snow hit it was non stop cold and snow. This Wednesday we will supposedly get up to 49 degrees but who knows. With Michigan it’s always a gamble and I know too another snow storm or two or three is not out of the question.

Suburbanite Life

Ruining Everything


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What’s the last thing you look at when you go to bed and the first thing you look at when you wake up?

smartphone-addictionEntering the barbershop I  made my way to the corner where there’s a soft leather couch. I like to sit there for a few minutes because the couch is so comfortable. On each visit I wonder where they got the couch and think about where it would fit in my home, it wouldn’t unless I finished the basement.

On this visit there was someone across from me that I made eye contact with just as I was sitting down. There was a quick acknowledgement like a half “hello” or “hi.” As I sat on my favorite couch I pulled out the smart phone and started tapping away. The damn phone that’s ruining everything.

Thinking back to a time before smartphones I think I remember something about conversations or even reading books. They seem like distant memories but I do know books still, I have plenty of them only they are more decoration now. I remember too how it feels to dive into a book that pulls you in so much that you just can’t put it down. My favorite books are biographies and science fiction. I’ve never come away with much satisfaction from winning at Words with Friends, as seldom as that happens.

Have you ever sat down with someone and all they do is tap away on their phone? It’s like a never-ending cycle of tapping, scrolling, checking,  playing, and checking again. You feel like there’s no way you can compete with the phone because it provides endless time killing material. I’ve only met one or two people with the capacity to overtake the smartphone who could talk so fast and constant that you don’t have time to even look away from them let alone check your social media and/or make a move on Words with Friends.

I’m guilty of using my phone at inappropriate times. When is an inappropriate time? When someone is trying to talk to you and they only see your head at a 45 degree angle, when you are at a wedding, funeral, movie, or in the checkout lane at the grocery store are all times when you should pay attention to what’s going on around you. I won’t go on a rant about texting and driving, you know who you are. Stop doing that. I promise I will too. I’m also going to make a habit of keeping my phone in my pocket when around friends. I won’t make the person or people with me feel like they are second to my smart phone.

Family, Memories

50 Years


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As a home inspector I see details about people’s lives not generally shared with the public. It’s not my intention to pay attention to these details but sometimes they sort of speak to me. My focus is always on the job but I’m human, certain things have an impact.

The first time I became aware of this was while inspecting a foreclosure/short sale.  A short sale home is the result of the owners inability to meet their loan obligation so instead of having the home taken away from them by the lender they sell it at below cost. The first time I became “aware” was when inspecting a short sale home with clothes in the closets. One room was obviously a child’s room with toys and toddler clothes in the closet. I remember how I felt when I paused for a moment to consider the family who lost this home. My first thought was, “I wonder where they are now and I hope they are alright.”

I’m a family man with kids and a wife. That last part is only a legality now as the papers have been signed to dissolve those terms but still I consider myself a family man. When I enter a vacant home that was once occupied by a family I always wonder about them. It makes me sad at times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I entered one of those recently vacated homes but by the looks of things you would think it was sealed off for the past 30-40 years because everything inside was so dated. The wallpaper was metallic with earthy tones like what you would see in a home build in the 60’s as this one was OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA. Some of the furniture matched the wallpaper. I laughed to myself more than once. The buyer said they had plans to gut most of the house and start over. I nodded in agreement. When you buy a house that’s what you do. The carpet, paint and sometimes the layout changes to fit your taste.

As I moved along the rooms inspecting this home I started to get an idea of who lived here. Like I said my intention is to inspect the home not spend my time figuring out what the people were like who lived there but it’s not easy to ignore some things. I am looking for material deficiencies so I’m focused on certain details past the cosmetic aspect. But because I am focused and looking for defects I see everything, it’s not possible to not see things.

There were pictures on the walls in some rooms of the previous occupants. The pictures were old, black and white, and based on what I could tell from the 40’s. I came to that conclusion because there were a couple of images of the gentleman in his military uniform from WWII. He was a pretty sharp-looking fella too. Then there was a large framed photograph in one room of his wedding day. They were both pretty sharp-looking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAcross the top of the photo were the words, “50 Years, Congratulations.” At once I felt a mixture of happiness and sadness. I thought it was wonderful that these two were able to celebrate their 50 year wedding anniversary. I felt sad too that they were no longer alive and that one had passed on before the other. I thought about my grandmother who lost her husband a few years ago and my grandmother in law who celebrated her 50 year anniversary then lost her husband.  Then there was a moment of self pity in knowing I won’t celebrate a 50 year wedding anniversary. Even if I got re-married tomorrow I would be 93 in the year 2064.

After that I saw things in a different light. The old wallpaper and various items were the taste of this couple, he must have wanted things to remain the same. Her perfume and brush were still on the bathroom counter, he must have kept them there as a reminder of his late wife. The hospital bed had a knitted blanket on it, just like the blankets my grandmother in law knitted. He must have taken care of her in the later years as her health slipped away. The couple who spent their lives together through all the trials that life brings. I felt ashamed that I had laughed inside at the color of the furniture and wallpaper.

Memories, Nature, Photography, Vacation

Superstition Mountains


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Superstition MountainsTwo years ago I was fortunate enough to visit a friend of mine who moved from Michigan to Arizona. Because of work, kids and things it’s not always easy to get away but I’ve managed to visit him twice so far. He loves hiking as much as I do so there’s never a shortage of places to go.

On my second visit we went on our first hike right after he picked me up from the airport. As soon as I arrived we went to Superstition Mountains and hiked for a few hours. As much as I love Michigan vacations there’s something about Arizona that draws me in and makes me feel like I belong there.

Michigan, Nature, Photography

Orange Flowers


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Orange Flowers

Today reminded me of Spring. The temperature got up to 50 degrees and it felt good to breath in the smell of earth. It’s been a while since I’ve seen grass, even if it was wet brown grass it was still nice to see.

There’s a weather advisory starting tonight and lasting until Wednesday evening with a forecast of up to six inches of snow. I hope this is the last of it.

Michigan, Nature, Photography

Wild Flowers


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Wild Flowers

The cut path at the nature preserve allows you to walk in between tall wild flowers. Just before winter, when most of the grass is turning brown, these wild flowers stand out the most.

Family, Memories, Michigan, Nature, Photography, Vacation

Sunset


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Sunset

The sun setting on Lake Michigan. Our dog Otis on the beach making sure things are in order and the family safe for the night, he’s always so concerned about us. I miss this vacation, heck I miss all my vacations. This one was special though, the last family vacation. I think it’s going to always be that week I look back on and smile about. I knew going in it would be the last so the mood was bittersweet but I made the most of it.

Family, Parenting

What A Lucky Dad I Am


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  Growing up I was lucky. My parents divorced when I was one, that’s not the lucky part, but my dad was always in the picture. As a kid I was exposed to good men and bad men. I always considered my dad to be one of the good ones, hardworking, kind, made time for me and most of all an even guy. By an even guy I mean he was always calm in any situation, never over reacting and someone I never felt I could not trust. He wasn’t a disciplinarian but he was respected because of the things I listed.

  I wasn’t afraid of not doing what dad said because I thought there would be a punishment, I was afraid of not doing what he said because I respected him too much to do otherwise. That’s not to say I was a very well-behaved kid, far from it, but dad was the kind of guy you didn’t want to disappoint because you loved him so much.

 Lately I’ve been thinking about my relationship with my own kids, how it’s been over the years and what it’s like now. There are things I wish I could go back and change, yelling out of anger (dad never did that) or overreacting when they acted like kids. There’s no set in stone rule book for raising kids, I’ve tried different things with mixed results, but I do know there are things all kids need and that’s love, kindness and a role model. Someone needs to provide those last three things, mom and dad, mom or dad..or whatever. I’ve made spending time with my kids a priority and each day I’m so thankful that my career allows me to do that often. I’ve also worked hard at trying to be the things my dad was to me.

 Right now I’m lucky. I’m getting divorced, that’s not the lucky part, but the mother of my kids is an awesome role model who’s there for our kids. She’s a hard worker, even-tempered, and they trust her. Despite what’s happening to my marriage I know the kids are and will always be our priority. I’m thankful for that.