Monday, November 30, 2009

Truckin', like the do-dah man...

Well, here it is, a month later again, and while I can’t say everything’s improving, there’s enough progress in several areas of my life that I continue to be very happy.

The house is continuing to improve, at least in d├ęcor, if not structure. The back door threshold and floor need to be replaced, like YESTERDAY, but I can scrumble together a working temporary solution until I can afford to do some serious rebuilding on the entire back wall. I replaced a few of the kitchen floor tiles to make it usable until I can get around to replacing it in its entirety. I still have to furnish the kids’ room, so I’ll have to find a good deal on a couple twin beds and a dresser. There’s still some wall—washing to be done, carpet to be re-cleaned (and properly, this time), and the living room NEEDS to be painted in a serious way. Still, I have working utilities, a working furnace (knock wood), the basics of furniture for the living room and bedroom (courtesy of my sister), and a working stove and fridge. About the only things I’m missing are a washer & dryer so I don’t have to haul to the laundromat every week (where I’m sitting right now). After the cleaning, painting, and basic repairs are done, I hope to start replacing the living room furniture piece-by-piece to make it less “college dorm room” and more “grown-up home”.

Dating is a different story. I didn’t date much in High School to begin with, and now, being single again after 20 years is taking some getting used to. I’m finding it’s requiring a reexamination of my entire value system and self-esteem, mostly by realizing that I’m not quite the fugly chud of a loser I often though I was. Losing 40lbs didn’t hurt that, of course, but realizing that there are women out there that may value the aspects of myself that *I* value in me and may even find me attractive for who I AM, rather than who I COULD be (with their training), has been an adjustment. I’ve always been a bit of a contradiction: an egomaniac that’s ridiculously self-conscious. Lately, I’ve been trying to curb those extremes and I’m finding the middle-ground very peaceful.

I’ve dated a little over the past several months - nothing real serious (or at least, not realistic), until recently. I’ve been seeing this one girl for the past month or so. I could write paragraphs here, but I’d rather not go into a lot of detail. Suffice it to say, we like each other a lot, have a LOT in common, and are completely honest with each other. She’s an attractive geek, with an 80’s pop-culture knowledge that rivals my own! We’ll see where it goes, but I’m very happy right now.

The biggest worry continues to be money (ain’t it always). Between the usual bills, unexpected car repairs, surprise payroll snafus, and the like, the income seems to always meet the outgo, but I wish I could provide more for my kids. Things aren’t finalized with the divorce yet, but the ex and I have been working things out quite well and are cooperating to see that the kids’ needs are met. I’m providing what I can, when I’m asked, and always looking for ways to scrounge up a few bucks to try and make some financial headway. The quartet has a few gigs, I’m starting to give private trombone lessons again to a small degree, but that money always seems to get eaten up by some corresponding catastrophe. It’s IMMENSELY frustrating to be 35 and after a few years of relative financial stability (by NO means, prosperity), to be living paycheck to paycheck again. My big hope is to be able to come up with enough, along with the ex, to get my kids a Wii for Christmas. That’ll be the big present this year, God willing. With the help of the grandparents, it’ll happen, but I’m hoping to come up with enough on my own so they’re free to shower the kids with the cornucopia of gifts the younglings are used to getting.

Thankfully, my needs are few. Most of the creature comforts and luxuries I want, I already have. I don’t eat much, or have expensive tastes. The techno-gadgets I own suffice quite well for my uses and I don’t feel the need to upgrade them. My Christmas List will likely be rather small, compared to most years. I’ll get to that in my next blog, hopefully before the New Year…

…hopefully.