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2014 - I'm not sure whether to celebrate you or tell you to fuck off?

In all likelihood, I just need to disconnect for a while and come back with fresh eyes.

A list of things....

-This lawsuit, based out of business dealings from 2011, needs to die in a fire. The stress of it all has been affecting me since the beginning of the year, and it's tearing me apart. Every time I have good news, it's tainted by the "but what" of this dumbass litigation.

-I'm beginning to experience that natural result of marriage - where you start to miss your friends. I still have an active social life, and I would never wish to be without Ceilla - she's incredible. But when you focus your energies on your work, your family, your home... you run out of time. I'm sitting at a coffee shop in my old neighborhood right now, remembering times past - experiences with good friends, and kind of wishing I could just free-form my time. The rub is that in Winter, I get to do exactly that - but Winter is a pretty difficult time to be casually social, without spending a lot of money. No one just wants to go for a walk when the air feels like it's trying to peel your skin off.

-Fall. Damnit, I love you and I hate you. It's been a beautiful fall this year, and the weather has been nice. But I still feel this impending dread, and I don't know how to make it go away.

-Business... this was a breakthrough year, and I really thought things were shaping up. And then my key employee put in his 2 weeks notice. He's the one that made it possible for my to push my energies towards growth, and now he's going. I'm bothered by this for a number of reasons. One, we had a really excellent working relationship with little/no boss:employee tension. I paid him very generously, and gave him a lot of discretion and flexibility. I made sure he never lacked for tools or resources. And as recently as 2 weeks before he sent his notice, I sat him down over beers and asked him where he wanted to go, how he wanted to grow, what he wanted his job duties to look like, what I could do to better serve him, and gauged his future plans. Everything was positive and he gave no indication of discontent. Based on that conversation, I set wheels into motion to grow - knowing that his corner of the business was taken care of. Now I have my nuts hanging out.

-I am continually thankful for the stability, warmth and comfort I receive from my marriage. Ceilla inspires me, and gives me strength beyond anything I knew was possible. I just feel like a board that's being bent, and I'm fearful that it will snap before the pressure is relieved.

-Next weekend we are taking off for a cabin in the hills, where my cell phone won't work - where the Internet doesn't connect - where the puppies can run free in the woods. Where the leaves will be changing colors... I'm hoping that this break will reset me and help me transition out of Summer stress into Winter bliss....

Sorry this wasn't more coherent - it just feels good to express it.
06 September 2014 @ 08:19 pm
Another Leather and Lace tonight :)
08 April 2014 @ 07:49 pm
I'm having one of those nights where I just marvel at the twists and turns my life has taken. I'm happy... truly, sustainably happy. I have a comfortable home, a beautiful wife who is amazing beyond words, an asshole puppy who's learning to be less of an asshole, work that allows me to be financially comfortable and in control of my life, and a social life that most guy's in their mid-30's could only dream of.

Are there problems? Of course. There's a lot of stress, and I'd sure love it if I didn't have a 70 year old's knees. But I'm getting by, and experiencing a hell of a lot of joy along the way. Reflecting on life about 7-8 years ago, I wish I could have known then that things would end up like they are now.

I have moments where I'm ashamed of my past. I wasn't always good to the people around me, or to myself. I wish I could take back some of my stupider moments, but even those built me to who I am today. And I'm pretty proud of the life I have now. Maybe a beer and a few tacos just lends itself to introspection, but I felt like I just needed to write this down somewhere a little more private than Le Facebook.
03 March 2014 @ 06:03 pm
Taking a moment to expel the frustration that has been my day.

I bought Obama's shady-ass scam. I even paid extra for dental coverage, because I wanted to be sure that we can get Ceilla's impacted wisdom teeth pulled with no drama. So today...

1: I went to the knee surgeon. I tore a meniscus in my left knee 2.5 years ago, and due to lack of insurance, haven't gotten it repaired. My old (and very awesome) knee surgeon analyzed the MRI and confirmed the tear, and told me that is physical therapy didn't fix it, surgery was in order.

The new insurance doesn't cover seeing my rock-star knee surgeon, so I made an appointment with Dr. Graf - the egotistical cock-sucker who told me in 2000 (after he operated on me in 1999) that as a 20 year old, I'd never hike in the mountains or run again. The same dickhead who in 2006 told me to "deal with the pain", a year before Rock-Star Surgeon repaired both knees - restoring me to youth, vigor, 10k runs and epic mountain skiing.

Shithead couldn't make his computer run, and didn't even bother examining my knee. He didn't look at the MRI, just checked x-ray's (which are notoriously bad at showing cartilage damage) and told me my knees are awesome, and there was nothing to be done. I insisted he go to another room where he could look at the MRI, read the radiographers report, and see the notes from my Rock Star Surgeon. He disagreed with them, said he saw no indication of a tear, and that I could fuck off. So fuck you Dr. Graf for giving ZERO fucks... I'll be getting a 2nd opinion, thank you.

2: Ceilla went for her oral surgery consult today, and when they ran the pre-authorization she was told that the dental insurance portion would only cover $600, and the medical insurance would cover nothing. The directly counters what the medical insurance company told us when we called several weeks ago. Fucking scam. Obama forces us to buy their shit, but then when you want to use it, they won't pay up. $1500+ out of pocket is not my idea of "being insured".

3: As an extra-special, Fuck-You-Monday bonus... I use QuickBooks for my business accounting. And I use QuickBooks payroll service to pay my employees. As part of this, every August I pay hundreds of dollars for my payroll subscription for another year. As I log in today, I'm warned that I need to upgrade my version of Quickbooks (currently 2011, they want me to install 2014) for hundreds of dollars, or else my payroll service (that I've paid for THROUGH AUGUST) will no longer work.

Get that... using a software I've already paid for, they are going to disable a service I've already paid for, unless I agree to buy new software from them. And if I don't buy it, I can't continue to use the service I'm ALREADY PAYING FOR and can't get refunded. Fuck you Intuit, fuck you very much.
19 February 2014 @ 06:50 pm
One of those days where I just got a ton of stuff (office work) taken care of. It's strange, I have to be in the right mood to get things done in the office... it reminds me of being in college, where I would have fits and spurts of productivity intermingled with tons of wasted time where I was totally useless.

I wish I knew the key to being more consistent in this regard. I sense a very busy year coming, and if I'm going to survive and stay sane, I'll need to get my shit together.

Nice talking to you again, LJ. It's been a minute.
08 April 2013 @ 12:18 pm
Back in the USA - with a new outlook on life, a lot of energy, and a ring on my finger :)
26 January 2013 @ 08:24 pm
It's not that I'm homesick... I'm just sick of this home! I think this will be my last contract, ugh.
17 October 2012 @ 10:58 pm
This is the itinerary I'll be on this winter :)  Based out of Fort Lauderdale, we start with an 11 day jaunt through the Southeastern Caribbean... on the way back, a stop at Holland America Line's beautiful Half Moon Cay.  Next day back in Fort Lauderdale for a day of phone, internet and shopping... then the next day, back to Half Moon Cay and then onwards to the Southern Caribbean... Definitely looking forward to the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao :)

005 Nov 2012Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US05:00 PM
106 Nov 2012At Sea
207 Nov 2012At Sea
308 Nov 2012Philipsburg (St. Maarten), AN08:00 AM03:00 PM
409 Nov 2012Castries, St. Lucia08:00 AM03:00 PM
409 Nov 2012Scenic Cruising Soufriere BayCO
409 Nov 2012Soufriere, St Lucia SC TR05:00 PM06:00 PM
510 Nov 2012Bridgetown, Barbados08:00 AM05:00 PM
611 Nov 2012Fort-De-France, Martinique08:00 AM05:00 PM
611 Nov 2012Daylight passing Mount PeleeCO
712 Nov 2012Roseau, Dominica08:00 AM03:00 PM
813 Nov 2012St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.08:00 AM05:00 PM
914 Nov 2012At Sea
1015 Nov 2012Half Moon Cay, Bahamas TR08:00 AM04:00 PM
1116 Nov 2012Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US07:00 AM05:00 PM
1217 Nov 2012Half Moon Cay, Bahamas TR08:00 AM04:00 PM
1318 Nov 2012Grand Turk, Turks and CaicosNoon06:00 PM
1419 Nov 2012Cruising Bahia de Samana CO
1419 Nov 2012Samana, Dominican RepublicTR10:00 AM05:00 PM
1520 Nov 2012At Sea
1621 Nov 2012Kralendijk (Bonaire), Antilles08:00 AM05:00 PM
1722 Nov 2012Willemstad (Curacao), Antilles07:00 AM11:00 PM
1823 Nov 2012Oranjestad, Aruba07:00 AM05:00 PM
1924 Nov 2012At Sea
2025 Nov 2012At Sea
2126 Nov 2012Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US07:00 AM

Even more awesome is finally being reunited with Ceilla after 6 months... I'm so pumped!  

19 September 2012 @ 12:42 am
What a difference a year makes...

September 19th, 2011 did not start out normally.  I woke up at 5am, was driven to East Towne Mall, and said goodbye for the last time.  I met up with Heather Ziebell, a childhood friend whom I *never* see, and together we drove to General Mitchell International.  I flew off to Quebec City, and signed on to the Eurodam.

The first half of my contract was tumultuous.  I had a lot of things go wrong for me in a very short period of time, and I had to put my big boy pants on and man the hell up.  But to look at that time and say "a bunch of bad things happened, but I coped and it got better" doesn't tell the whole story.

I realize now in retrospect how unhappy I was before I ever left for the ship.  I didn't have stability, I didn't have answers, and I didn't have any sense of inner peace.  In ways, I took out my unhappiness on people who were close to me... I wasn't an easy person to be around.

When everything went wrong on the Eurodam, I was powerless to change anything.  I spent some amount of time worried about what I was coming home to.  But somewhere along the line, I surrendered.

That's a big statement from me.  I'm a fighter - always have been.  When faced with a problem, I find a solution.  I resolve the shit out of it.  I'm used to being the guy who makes things happen.  But I was thousands of miles away, and life was going to do it's thing, regardless of my input.  So I stepped back, lost myself in the moment and put myself in the hands of fate.

It turns out fate was pretty kind to me.  My friends and family back home stepped up to show me unconditional support and love.  My attorney and longtime friend Dave made miracles happen to ensure my financial well-being.  My health improved, and I found myself really enjoying myself.  And then, in the most improbable of circumstances, I found the most complete love I've ever known in the form of a beautiful woman named Ceilla.

Since I've been home, I've traveled to the other side of the world, I've grown a new business, I've expanded my existing business, I've said YES to the joys of Summer in Wisconsin, I've been surrounded by the most incredible friends I could imagine, put thousands of miles on my Harley, and asked Ceilla to marry me.

What a difference a year makes.  I'm 46 days out from joining the Noordam, being reunited with Ceilla after over 6 months apart, and starting this next very exciting chapter in my life.

Where does that leave me today?  I've always been strongly affected by the change of seasons, particularly the onset of Fall.  And as I breathe in this crisp, cool Autumn air, my mind returns to the fall of last year, spent on the waters of the St. Lawrence River.  All of the uncertainty and loneliness runs through me... not as a current emotion, but an echo of a time past.  I find myself in stasis right now.  My summer was characterized by the most insane type of busyness, and now as I regain my free time, I just stare at the calendar and count down the days until I leave.  I fear this next month and a half could be the longest of my life.

I don't mean to sound morose.  I'm not.  I'm about as happy as I've ever been, but true to being a man of action, I find it entirely unsatisfying to stand still - to tread water.  I'm hoping that this is just a passing emblem of the change of seasons, and that I'll regain my will to live in the moment again. 

With all of that said, I want to end this on a positive note.  I've never really been involved in a long distance relationship.  I guess my preconception always was that when a couple is away from each other, their relationship goes into stasis until the next time they see each other.  How wrong I was.  I find my relationship with Ceilla growing with every day that passes.  Particularly over the past month, we've found new dimensions of closeness and intimacy that only reaffirms that we're on the right path. 

I would not, I could not have ever conceived that two people could give so selflessly to each other - that two could cooperate so completely to forge a path forward.  Let's face it, two people from opposite sides of the world, different cultures, completely different backgrounds - faced with distance, strain and stress... it's not the easiest set of circumstances for two people to grow closer.  And yet we check in with each other nearly every day, providing each other support and comfort from the daily difficulties we face.  As cliche as it may sound, I find myself loving her more every single day.

What a difference a year makes.
05 May 2012 @ 12:21 am
Tonight, I asked Ceilla what she wanted our wedding to be like.  She answered "i don't have any idea for now. but what i really want is just a simple wedding with our family and closed friends be there."

My response was: "Hahaha I'm so different from you  if it were only up to me it would look like a rock concert  even with explosions! Lol"

In any case, the conversation moved towards the sore subject of my mother, whom I haven't spoken to in over 4 years due to some nasty business following my father's death.  Indonesian's take family very seriously, and she wants the chance to talk with my mother and gain her approval.  This is a challenging situation for me, and I asked her if it was very important to her.  She said yes, it is... I told her that since it's very important to her, I will approach my mother and forgive her, and provide Ceilla the opportunity to talk with her.  But I didn't leave it there...

"But if I forgive my mom, you have to let me make explosions at the wedding "

For the record, she agreed to this proposition.  I heart her so much.