Useful Tool, That’s Me!


The guy I roomed with for about ten seconds after joining my fraternity came with the pledge name “Tool”.  He thought it was because of his prowess with the ladies, the rest of us knew it was because he sounded like an idiot trying to regale the crowd with his tales of conquest.  Eventually he learned, not just of his nom de plume but how to act around other people.

My niece has a guy in her life.  And he is doing his best to put everyone in the family at ease while still being a 16 year old boy.  He brings flowers for her grandmother, tries to remember to “Yes Sir, No Sir” when talking to her father, and he is absolutely not sure how to deal with me.  But over the weekend he made a valiant effort towards gaining my trust.

He has a car so in need to daily repair that he actually spends time each day tightening some bolt or hoping that all the pieces come home from his lawn cutting hours.  Purchased with money from his own grandparents when he was 14, his father has helped him rebuild as much as possible.  But then I was asked for some advice…

Number One Rule: don’t get between a father and son when they are trying to form a bond.

In this case it was with permission.  It was about some electronic portion of the stereo that his father just couldn’t decide on so he opened it up to the floor.  Since the young man is over on the weekends for Sunday brunch, he asked me to sit and talk.

I know nothing about restoring cars.  Minor things I can fix, major things have me making calls to the mechanic for an appointment.  But adding some speakers and a radio, I can handle this.

It wasn’t even a talk about the price or even what he wanted it to look like.  We talked about the music.  Knowing the engine is always going to be heard, that squeaks and rattles are the symphony of the metal and rubber, it never was going to be a concert hall of silence when the doors shut.

My dad taught me about acoustic models when I was a kid.  Different power ratings, ohms, peak watts versus balanced output.  An engineer’s dream set of questions asked by his son who wanted to listen.  We were building a sound for my keyboards, but we also built a better understanding of each other.

He was the tool I needed than, I’m the tool someone needed now.

Of all the things I miss about my daughter, not having the ability to see her face when she learns something new truly upsets me.  That set of eyes growing wide [that scene in Zootopia with the Sloth is a perfect example.  That’s why everyone loves it, they know that feeling and want it every day!], her excitement with her accomplishment.  My smile knowing her exact feeling.  It’s also why I feel a simple level of guilt about having been the one to teach my nephew to ride a bike.  On a basic point I took something away, even though my brother didn’t care.  This also was the same time my daughter had passed away so I might have also been given a pass from him?

Last night, before crawling into bed I ordered something on Amazon.  Nothing big or expensive, but a puzzle piece that will get them started.  My niece will be the one who actually gives it to him, another one of our little secrets that harm no one.

Having retired last month since I felt my work wasn’t up to snuff, having someone ask me for advice made me feel useful.  Just a simple reminder that even when I don’t see it or even feel it, others do.



The Wheels on the Car Go Round and Round!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Make It Anywhere.”

First off, as a guy from Boston we don’t really have great emotional attachment to that song!

The destination was simple, go buy new tires for her car.  Four pieces of rubber mounted to steel, spinning in circles.  There are plenty of options, but not as many choices.  Off we go!  Money was tight so it was trying to figure out the best set that would give the best protection, and for the best deal.  There’s a place I favor due to their customer service.  Buy 3, get the 4th free!  And it applied to the tires we needed, perfect.  The only issue, still a little more money than was sitting in the account.

Fortunately Whitney’s mother had offered to pay half the freight, extremely generous.  Even if it does make you feel like a kid needing help from your parents.  But there was something wrong with the card she gave.  Some panic sets in as we are at the bank trying to make the numbers work.  They were already doing the work, might be a little too late to change things.  Hey aren’t they running a deal on getting their Credit Card, we could pay it off slowly for the next couple of months without fees!  Not sure that she wanted to open herself up to more money concerns, we talked about it.  And talked about it.  Talked a little more, but as we walked back into the garage Whitney strode with confidence that she was doing the right thing.  She had found the solution to her issue without needing any real help.  Maybe a little push to let her know she could do this, that she was strong enough to take on this simple responsibility without the family’s assistance.  I was so proud because we were doing things as a couple.  A little bit of normal in our lives, that had been so tough this year to that point.

Driving back to my house, I had this sense of fun, a sense of accomplishment since we had made it through the day.  For once we had gotten through the simple tasks without drama, together.  Later we talked about it being a “Good Day”, and it was.

I miss that in my days now, Whitney and those simple tasks.  We made it that day because we talked, worked together, reached our simple goal.  I miss those talks,

Caution – Work In Progress!

Winning Streak

It’s not been about the amount of material I have posted that has made this a partial success for me, but the fact that I continue to notice that I look forward to writing them.  Sure some topics have made me very uncomfortable, while others have let my fingers fly across the keys.  There are days when I just can’t write, the emotions of everything surrounding me to painful to put down for the public, yet they get written and stored in some other fashion.

I’m finding that just like this blog, I’m a work in progress.  It’s a rare day that I look at the “Stats” tab since to me it would feel like Sally Fields proclaiming “You like me, you really like me!”  But it brings a smile to my face when I see some message that an individual likes something I wrote.  Comments continue to amaze me.

Some of the things I know I want to continue to write about:

The pain of having lost my daughter.  Getting that out helps me get through everything.  I can’t hide from it, so sharing it in some constructive manner is best.  She would have been the best part of my future, since she is the best part of my dreams.

Dealing with the absolute confusion and dispair I feel about a relationship, that I value maybe a little too much, since its dissolution back in September.  That longing for her presence, trying to cope with her absence, learning to live each day.

And what might become an intertwined topic of these medical concerns that kept me from writing part of October.  Sitting in a hospital bed, unable to communicate even with the person in the room.  And yes people, I could hear parts of what people were saying!  Those 3 days marked the longest I had gone without uttering anything since I was a infant.  The couple of days that followed even harder.  [great now I have a topic to write about later!]

For me it hasn’t been about a string of postings or some grind to find additional “followers”, the achievement that I have awarded myself is knowing that I’m trying.  Trying to reach out and pour out my heart.  It’s a humble experience, one unlike any other in my life.  And like my title says, a work in progress.

The Best Revenge is Success?

The Spice of Success

“The agony of Defeat”

I grew up hearing that phrase uttered every Saturday afternoon right before they showed highlights of sporting events from around the globe.  A guy tumbling down a ski slope, gymnasts stumbling off of a balance beam, or some horse race where the jockey ended up ten feet away from his mount.  These were always followed by people cheering the successes of those who had not stumbled, not fallen, not gotten right back up to finish their event.

In the midst of watching my relationship go from wonderful to painful I am reminded of the number of times we fell down and got back up.  It wasn’t easy, there were no simple solutions some times; but when we worked together as a team we succeeded in spectacular fashion.  Which makes this parting that much more disappointing for me.  When we talked about what was going on things worked.  It was the silence that made it worse.  Makes me think about Ghost Chilies, they will burn you if you’re not careful in how you handle them.  Careful attention paid to where you put them, making sure to wash your hands before using any other food.  A dear Lord don’t touch your face, the pain will get you.

Marriages are seen by too many people as throwaway objects.  Something that you can just get annulled or end some legal contract with the other over a conference room table.  There are those who fight tooth and nail to save what they have.  Therapy, time, understanding, these are all hard things.  Hard work is what makes success smell so sweet.  Life isn’t just a collection of good times strung together.  Life is about finding ways to survive the truly bad times and come out of them knowing that you did everything you could to help, support, love another person.

I’ve been told that success will be measured in how well I come out of this.  The chorus of Destiny’s Child “I’m a Survivor” following me as I maintain a smile, while dragging my feet behind.  “The best revenge is success”?  What does that really mean?  Proving to yourself that you can do all of the things you didn’t believe because your relationship was holding you back.  I believe that every person has the ability to achieve great things.  It may not be world paradigm changes, but they will make their mark on the world in some way.  Add to the common good.

For my part, I am happy that I get to work, tutor a kid after school who wouldn’t get the chance to be exposed to someone with my skills, and get home at the end of the day in one piece.  To me, at this time, that is success.

I don’t want my ex hurting in any way, I don’t want to rub it in her face later, that feeling truly is about revenge. The best thing for me is knowing that she succeeds as well.  Learns that she truly is capable of anything, everything.  To me that would be the success.