Tales From The Main

Snapshots of small town life - zany characters and our neverending poker game.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tomorrow is Carol’s birthday and I Got Her a Fantastic Present

For the most part I find the various electronic gadgets that fill our lives to be ill conceived and fairly useless but the trinkets being produced lately seem to be filling actual needs in our lives. For Carol’s birthday gift this year I picked up a 1Gb digital music player. It is not the fanciest one but it is small and has a few neat features – the best one being that it recharges by plugging into the USB port of any PC. I went a step further and asked Marcia and a couple of her friends to spend an evening and fill up every atom of the flash memory with music which should work out to the equivalent of about 200 LP records. The girls had a lot of fun choosing music to put on Mom’s new machine and Carol will no doubt appreciate the music during her daily lunch hour workouts. What struck me was the scale of the gift. Even ten years ago if someone was to have given me a walkman music player with 200 cassette tapes of assorted bands as a birthday gift I would have been overwhelmed. In fact it would be inconceivable gift in my middle class existence. Times certainly do change – and occasionally for the better.

My best bud Huck gave me a call last night. He’s a drone in sector 7G of this huge faceless corporation but does have the opportunity to move up a bit in the organization. Several months ago he had an interview with the director responsible for the department he is trying to get into but he blew the meeting and didn’t get the job. The company decided not to fill the position at the time so Carol and I sat down with him and reviewed where he could have improved his interview process. Long story short, yesterday he had a second shot with the guy and it looks like he will get the position. He was totally pumped and took his new found confidence out after work with him to one of his local pubs. Turns out there was a young lady enjoying a cocktail by herself in this establishment and old Huck worked up the courage to introduce himself – an hour later she left but gave Mr. H. her digits and email. I tell you he is a new man these days. It is really nice to see as I can’t think of anyone I know who is more interested in meeting someone to settle down with and raise a family. Huck has gone through a fifteen year stretch of self doubt and bad luck and is only now working his way out of the vicious circle. Way to go bud!

My final thought for today is on strategies for sanity in an insanely busy life. With six kids and interests ranging from high stakes poker to global economic theory my life can at times be described as chaotic. Carol and I have both been divorced once and are determined to make our relationship a priority in our lives. We recognized early on in our life together that making time for each other is the only way we will keep from drifting apart over time – let’s face it – it is easy to be totally excited and enthused about a new relationship but as the years progress and you become comfortable and complacent about each other’s presence the risk grows that one or both of you will drift away. Further complicating our situation is the fact that Carol is a morning person who enjoys her alone time from 6 am until the first kid starts stirring just before 7 while I rarely go to bed before midnight or 1am and have to be given an intravenous caffeine drip just to get me up a 8am. We found a common ground at 10pm in our master bathroom. Perhaps we are lucky to have a few extra bucks – I’m not going to apologize for being smart, hardworking or successful – but when we built our house we designed it with a large bathroom retreat of the master bedroom. The kids understand and respect that that part of the house is totally off limits to them. We have a big tub that we use – every night unless it is poker night! – and we sit, soak, and unwind. We talk about our day, we talk about the kids, we make plans, we read, we fool around, we drink good red wine, we have candles, music and bubbles. It really brings us closer together and is our favorite part of the day. If by chance you find yourself in a relationship that is struggling at all and you have any interest in trying to improve it I would highly suggest trying this strategy. Even if you don’t have the private retreat with candles and bubbles try just setting aside the time each day for a date – you fell in love for lots of good reasons and those reasons are probably still there – they’ve just been covered up by all the issues of daily life.

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