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Too Much Time On My Hands

The FutureFor those that will be paying any kind of attention, might see a few references in this one.  But hell…  I’ve had way too much time lately.  All because I wanted some time off, I got a whole lot more than I bargained for.  Most of it not so great.  Though I’ve done some minor things in the interim.

Changed web hosts.  Again.  Yes, this is the second time this year.  I switched because I wanted secure certificates for my sites.  Any site with a login, Google beats up now for being insecure.  I found a free way to get an SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt.  However, the original host (A2) I found was very slow, held all resources hostage unless you paid over double the basic rates to get more.  I moved to Dreamhost who has been fairly speedy so far and they aren’t nearly as greedy in both monthly cost and resources.  So saved a few dollars per month and get what I need.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

Started Playing WoW.  Again.  Yeah I know but I’m so freaking bored!  Not working as much, can’t afford new games.  Besides, I have that same old issue of new games just don’t appeal to me.  Even if Legion is broken.  There’s a ton of prior content I have yet to explore.

Installed my new headlights on my truck (that I ordered prior to getting hurt).  Oddly was about the same as spending time and money on a restore kit.  Just over $50 on Amazon.  Though everything you do on crutches takes three times longer.

About two weeks prior to the injury I also installed a new taillight.  Just under $50 on Amazon.  Besides, this was a crack, with water and sand inside it.  There’s really no repairing that easily.

Sadly my parking brake broke.  Yes, I actually like to use it.  I’m sure many folks don’t, but I do.  Though I thought perhaps I would put off fixing it and confirmed with my cousin that in most cases it’s OK to do so.  However, something must be lose in the brake drum, it almost got me stuck in the car wash yesterday.  Trying to find someone to fix it now before I hit the roads again.

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  In this case good working legs.  In between Physical Therapy sessions, Chiropractic visits, MRI’s, X-Rays and just waiting in doctors offices, I’ve also been thinking about where my life is going.  Which honestly is no where at all.  Though looking back, I’ve done more before I was 30 than a lot of people do with their lives.  So I’m not upset that’s not much going on now.

Weirdly I don’t really expect to change it much.  These (going on 7) weeks have put me back months and possibly years from getting my own house.  But I’ve grown weary of my living situation and once my mom finds a house, I won’t be moving with her.  I’ll stay here.  Even if it means working my ass off to pay for it myself.  Unless by some miracle I can find a decent roommate.  I’ve never had any luck finding a good roommate.  Unless it’s via a girlfriend.  Though I have my sincere doubts about finding either of those.

Let’s face it.  I’ve grown comfortable with my jobs.  Try as I might I can’t think of any new career to replace my IT job.  Delivery work isn’t bad.  Makes decent money and to be honest, even through all of this they have treated me good.  A bit slow on the initial workmen’s comp thing, but I’m alright.  Can’t say Gaylord is where I want to be, but where else is there?  Petoskey is too expensive, so is Boyne City.  Everywhere else in this area is too small and Traverse City is just too far away from my kids.  Although getting out of Gaylord would put an ease on the freaking snow.  We always get the worst and it lasts the longest here.  I hate snow.

References:

Still Mending

Denny CrutchI’m not sure when this will end.  It’s been well over 5 weeks that I’ve been out.  Everything is taking so damned long to accomplish.  As of 3 days ago I finally got my MRI done and managed to finally get some income from Workmen’s Comp.  I did everything I was supposed to do the first day.  When I received any paperwork, I had it done in an hour, scanned to PDF and emailed.  Yet when it comes to the response of others, it’s been nothing short of painfully slow.  So much so, that my claim was put in dispute because of someone not doing their part in a timely manner.  So here’s where I sit waiting.  I’m sure it can be argued that I have nothing better to do.  Whereas they have to work.  To that I say, priorities.  Want me back on the job?  Make it happen Captain Tight Pants!

Hopefully today I get news of my MRI scan and find out what is next.  While I pray for not needing surgery, I fear it may be necessary.  As my knee seems to be at a point where it doesn’t want to get any better than it has.  I’m down to one crutch to take some of the weight off.  However, I’m only good for about an hour before it’s on fire.  So mostly what I do is sit, ice it and take anti-inflammatory pain medications.  Which I’ve been cutting back on because I don’t want to get dependent upon them.

If I need surgery, I fear it may restart my healing process from zero and be out several more weeks.  Putting me off work for the entire summer.  NOT COOL.  All because folks drag their feet.  Mostly the medical and insurance company I hold accountable.  Everyone at work has been doing all they can for me.  Except for one very important person who almost cost me having to get outside help to get things done.  They don’t work in the store, so I had to deal with them via proxy.

I just wonder when I will be good enough to go back to work.  I’m over this whole thing.  I just want to get things back to normal.

Camping

CampingCamping is just not for me.  Not anymore that is.  It’s been years since I went camping.  I used to love it as a kid.  Though roughly in my early 30’s when I started having back problems.  So sleeping on the ground was no longer fun.  Just painful.  Air mattresses would deflate over night.  Unless you bought a nice one.

It’s not like I can afford a camper that I’d make monthly payments on to use maybe twice a year at most.  I don’t get vacation time these days, so taking any time off hurts the income to bill ratio.  Though let’s not forget all the costs needed to camp in a tent.  The tent, cooler, sleeping bags, good air mattresses, bags for clothing and food.  Oh and items for cooking, possibly fishing if you’re into that and many other items that you inevitably have to lug about.  If I have to buy a bunch of stuff, just to make myself halfway comfortable, I may as well just use that money on a hotel/motel room instead.  Sure once you use it, you can store it and use it again in camping.  Well mostly.  More than once I pulled camping equipment from storage, just to find it molded or found holes in the tent.

Especially in campgrounds.  This became very evident this past Memorial Day Weekend when I took a delivery to the County Park.  It was packed with people.  Kids and adults walking and riding bikes and it could be compared to a mall on Black Friday.  I almost gave up trying to make the delivery and tell the customer to come get the food at the park office.  It was all I could do to not run over people.  Took me longer to travel the park, than to drive there and back to the store again.

Why would you travel just to ride bikes and walk in tight quarters?  You can do that in your own neighborhood.

I wouldn’t enjoy camping like that at all.  People all on top of each other.  Folks who will certainly be disrespectful of others who want quiet time to sleep at night.  Fighting to get a shower the next morning.  Sleeping in paper thin tents while having to hear every little thing going on around you.  Or hearing Uncle Buck taking a pee behind the tent because he couldn’t hold it to go to the rest rooms.

With my health these days, I wouldn’t want to camp in a secluded place in the woods like I used to do.  I’d be afraid of just never coming back.

My Old Friend…

InsomniaDear Insomnia,

Hello my old friend.  Of course you and I both know that’s simply the euphemism we use.  We only kid ourselves with what we know to be true.  We are one another’s archenemy.  We have been for many years.  So long in fact I forget why we became unfriendly with each other.

I propose strike an accord.  I think we should work together.

Hear me out.  You help me break the secret of creating Flying Monkeys.  We train them to attack the stupid and the environmentally inhospitable.  You can prey on those you find despicable as well.  As the sleep deprived are much easier to conquer.  Our strengths combined we will be able to reduce the human population while keeping those who would save our way of life and the planet of which we inhabit.  Once we accomplish that, we can then rule the world!!  [insert evil laugh here]

What do you say old friend?  You give me peace and I give you an equal share in world domination 😈

Turning in my Gamer Card

Gamer CardI think it’s time to finally turn in my Gamer Card.  I don’t think I can call myself a Gamer anymore.  I’ve spent the last 2 years or so struggling to find a game I want to play.  Quitting and starting new and old games.  There is just no joy left in it for me.  Especially since all my previous gamer friends have moved on as well.

It was such a blast to play games.  At first it was fun to try new games.  Then when I started to play games with friends and with my children, that’s when it became an absolute, mind blowing, time of my life experience.  Playing Unreal Tournament and Carmageddon 2 against my family across the house.  Sitting watching my kids play Grand Theft Auto for hours on end.  Days and weeks spent with friends online fighting horrifically huge monsters go get the loot.  The loot though paled in comparison to the hilarious adventures trying to overcome the challenges.  Things most serious players never really like to do.  For them it’s do it right the first try or rage quit.  We, however, would spend countless hours dying and trying again and laughing it up.

I guess it’s time to move on though.  I can’t really say, time to grow up.  We are the Gamer generation.  Playing games on a tablet or phone is nothing compared to gaming on a PC or console.  I always thought I’d still be doing dungeons and raids while in retirement.  But the games have changed, the friends are gone.  I’ve gotten to know some amazing people along the way.  Some who have overcome life threatening medical problems, doctors and even good old rednecks.  Some of them from overseas.  Memories I’ll cherish forever.

Without them, it’s a very boring lonely place.  Even in a virtual world filled with other players to choose from.  I can’t log on anymore without being bored within a few minutes.  While I will never totally stop playing games, I won’t play them all that much anymore.  I can’t be called a Gamer anymore either.  Now I’m just a Geek.  A proud Geek, but a Geek none-the-less.

As I’ve said before, I was Geek long before it was cool.

Pretty Much Over I.T.

Bored TechYup, I’m pretty much over it.  I.T. that is.  I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now.  I started doing it in the Navy.  It was a blast at first.  Helping people.  Hearing “thank you” at the end of every conversation.  Sadly people have grown unappreciative.  They do the same things over and over and learn nothing.  Today I took a call of, “My mailbox is full again.  Please empty it.  Thanks.”.  Followed by the click of an ended call.  They have asked me to do this every few weeks since February of 2009.  They still start the call with, “I’m computer illiterate.”.  Then why do you own a computer if you’ve learned nothing in 8 years?

The same people call with the same problems.  “I don’t know why this keeps happening?”.  We explain, they ignore.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  My friend deleted some programs, now their browser won’t open.

If it wasn’t for the fact I get medical and dental, I’d quit and go full time delivery driver.  At least there all I have to deal with is cheap-asses who don’t tip.  That job is hard to let go.  Despite my clothes smelling like garlic butter when I come home.  That washes out.  My vehicle may smell like it, but now I’m using disposable seat covers to help cut down on that.  Plus I can get them steam cleaned.  However, the money I make is too hard to pass up most weeks.  I’ve looked for a job for over two years.  I don’t look as often.  There are next to no jobs I want that would start me at $12 an hour.  I don’t want to be a tech anymore.  Today’s lazy ass doesn’t appreciate us at all.

I don’t do computer repair anymore on a personal level, except of course my own computers.  Which I can’t remember the last time I needed to do that outside of replacing a faulty part.  Especially when people won’t bring me their computers so I can use my high speed internet to fix it.  Not to mention, I can be in an environment I’m comfortable in.  The last comment I got was, “there is a reason why i don’t come to ur house is ur trailer is small.”.  Do you realize how insulting this is?  My place plenty big enough with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  I tried to let that comment go.  Didn’t work.

In retort, I don’t want to drive to the boondocks, where there is limited internet to download large updates.  Where I have deal with the odor of pot, cigarette smoke and empty beer cans.  Sure you go outside to smoke while I’m there, but your home already is permeated with the smell.  It’s gross.  Let’s not forget, I work two jobs over 50 hours a week.  I generally only get 1 full day off a week.  I don’t want to do more tech support on what little time off I get.  I’d rather go see my kids, or go out on a date.

I’ve Given Up

I've Given Up Soda PopOn Soda Pop that is.  It’s taken me a very long time.  Years in fact.  I gave up marijuana decades ago.  While still in High School.  As I didn’t want to turn into my uncle who merely sat at home after work and smoked weed.  That was easy to do.

Shortly before I joined the Navy, I was up to 250 and needed to lose 60 pounds.  I managed to do it in a summer doing a stupid diet.  I don’t recommend this.  I rode a Mountain Bike everywhere in Petoskey.  From Brutus at first.  Which is roughly 14 miles from Petoskey.  (Well at least until I moved into Petoskey itself.)  I worked at a Hardee’s.  So I only had one meal a day.  My free lunch.  Outside of that, I spent all day biking.  For energy I drank Pepsi.  I wasn’t into coffee then.  That was a bad, bad idea.  While I did lose the weight, I got addicted to Pepsi.

During the Navy I got hooked on cigarette’s.  Did that for nearly 15 years.  Took forever to get off of them, now I find it easy to keep off of them as the smell is intensely gross to me.  Turns my stomach just to be near a smoker or ashtray.  However, during the Navy it was hard for me to keep the weight off.  Desk job mainly while I was there.  Smoked and was stuck at sea for months on end.  Crap food.  The crappier, the better it seemed.  So junk food became a staple for me.  After the Navy, my love of video games took over and I kept a desk job.  Still have it.  Just part time.  So a desk job, Pepsi, junk food and video games.  A recipe for how I became overweight.

It wasn’t until I got weighed at the doctor at 360 lbs.  My marriage was on it’s way out and I said enough is enough.  I had just quit smoking finally but the damage was done.  More than I realized.  I started walking around the outside of a local mall.  Between that and changing my diet to lower my cholesterol, I lost 20 pounds.  Then I moved and started walking around the Patrick Henry Mall outside and walking up to 3 miles a day at the least.  More if I could take it.  Sadly I only lost another 20 pounds.  I still drank Pepsi regularly and it all caught up with me.  My heart started to fail.

It took me several weeks to regain enough strength to start walking again.  Thanks to my dog Chase, I at least walked in a field with him at first.  Then back to my 3 miles a day.  I got down to just under 310 pounds.  This is where I plateaued until this past summer.  Between working two jobs and still drinking too much pop/soda.  I just couldn’t shake the weight.  In fact I gained 10 pounds.  I’ve given up smoking, never really drank, changed my diet a couple of times and put in exercise.  It just isn’t enough.  Especially since winter keeps me indoors and working puts me at walking only in the summer on my days off.  And my exercise bike isn’t getting used much.  Currently it’s trapped among extra chairs and boxes that are still in my kitchen.  So as of two weeks ago, I finally had enough.  If I’m to lose more weight, I need to cut sugar significantly.  So no more pop/soda.  No ice cream or sweets in the house for me.  Yogurt will be my treat.  Frozen fruit (and my low fat smoothies).  Now if mother nature would warm us up and stop with all this insane precipitation.  (It’s flip-flopping between rain and snow and it’s driving me nuts!!)  I sincerely hope this will help me finally achieve 220 in the next year or two.  Where I want to be.

Rainy Day Bored

Rainy Day BoredBloody hell this town is boring in March.  Especially on a cold rainy day.  I took a long drive yesterday.  Enjoyed some music, wandered aimlessly in a mall and didn’t spend a dime.  Well other than the gas to get me there and back.  I just needed to get out of town.  Think and such.  Also browsed a truck with a plow.  Was a bit beat up and had that nasty double cab syndrome.  I don’t need all that seating.  I mean I want a truck, to use as a truck.  Not a damned family sedan.  Which generally reduces the box size.  Anyway…

Today is Sunday.  Not a lot going on.  Especially in Gayrock.  Turned in my growing collection of pocket change for dollar bills and that was about it.  I can either go out to eat, or shop at the same 5 lousy stores.  I’m in Walmart way too much.  Meijer is freaking useless in my opinion.  (If someone says produce one more time, I’m going to punch them.  If that’s all Meijer is good for, it’s not worth the effort.)  Can’t afford a new gun yet.  So Jay’s is out.  Kohls is way over priced and doesn’t carry any clothing for me.  (Three racks is NOT a Big and Tall selection.)  I mean seriously, am I the only one who thinks Kohls is just pointless and pricey?  Big Lots is slowly becoming a junk store.  Especially their furniture.  A chair bought from there didn’t last 6 months before it started to fall apart.  😕

It’s too rainy for me to want to go shooting.  Thanks to the extreme lack of indoor shooting ranges around here.  Still not playing Warcraft.  Well, at least the retail version.  Though the private server market isn’t much better.  I maybe play 30 minutes a day at most before it annoys me.  I’m praying Pantheon will return MMORPG’s to their glory days.  GTA Online still isn’t fun, good thing I didn’t actually pay for it 😉  (No it’s not pirated, I got it as a gift.)

Tomorrow I hope to head up to Petoskey to look at possible trucks and explore.  I’ve always liked Petoskey.  Loved the year and a half I lived there.  Maybe next weekend I’ll take an all day trip to Traverse City and browse the downtown shops.  If I recall correctly, there was some great ones years ago.  I hope they’re still there.

Other than that, not a lot has gone on in my life lately.  With perhaps one exception.   I’m actually surprised no one has asked about it, but perhaps no one noticed.  Darla and I split.  It’s not her fault.  It’s mine.  I made the decision.  I won’t go into detail, but I want everyone to know that I still think she’s a very kindhearted woman.  I wish her nothing but the best in her life.  I hope we can remain friends.

Self Defense and Dead Printer

Self Defense and Dead PrinterSo today my printer died.  Not a big deal really.  Though of all the printers I’ve ever owned, this one was a real gem.  It was a Canon PIXMA MG5220.  I got it around late 2010 or early 2011 at Walmart for a sweet $35 on clearance.  Little did I know then, it retailed for nearly $150 and sometimes more.  It was insanely good and quiet.  I found ink deals on Amazon for $8 for all 5 ink tanks.  They all worked perfectly and it was the perfect photo printer.  It made all my sweet Christmas Cards for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  There was none for 2016 as I had realized that no one actually cared to get Christmas Cards from me.  I sent out 30+ cards in 2015 and got zero in return.  In 2014 I got 1.  Sure, it takes me a while, but I can take a hint.  Though now I need a new printer.  I’m going to try the updated version of the MG5720.  Same basic printer, some new features.  I hope I get 7 years out of this one.  Though I have my doubts.

Though the bigger news is that yesterday I took an NRA Self Defense class and did surprisingly well.  My skills with a gun are fairly good.  Good enough to protect myself and my loved ones.  For my build, I did pretty darn good.  We not only learned when you can and can’t use deadly force, but how to duck behind objects for protection and doing things like leaning around corners and firing rapidly with fairly good accuracy.  We learned a lot more, but I won’t bore you with the details.  I am proud of myself and thankful to those who helped me get to where I am so quickly.  My mom who helped me get the gun and equipment at a decent price.  The salesman at Jay’s Sporting Goods for the suggestion of what gun to choose on a budget.  My Uncle Roger for his support, tips and advice.  As well has letting me use his property to practice.  Bob for covering my shift at the day job so I could attend class.

I should start hanging my certificates on the wall.  I’ve got a small collection of them now.  This was passing the class.  I also have ones from my Navy days and others.

If it wouldn’t be so messy, I’d use the dead printer for target practice 😉

Been Places, Done Things

Sailor DennyI’m getting ever so close to being 50 years old.  My life isn’t by any means glamorous or financially stable.  It never has been and probably never will be.  I’d likely be a lot better off financially if I would’ve avoided all the horrible relationships I’ve been in over the years.  I’m a working stiff and have rarely been without work.  Many times, such as currently; I’ve worked two jobs to do what I have to do to get by.  The other night at my second job, the new Assistant Manager teased me about how I simply sit and drive to make money.  And that he works twice as hard and as much as I do.

At 20, I went from simple delivery driver to store manager in a month by proving that, “I can run this store better than you.  And I’ve only worked here 2 weeks.”.  I should’ve been fired for being so bold.  Instead I was given and opportunity and was rewarded for my effort.  That lasted a little over a year before I was given a better opportunity.

I was given my own Little Caesars to run in East Jordan.  I mucked that opportunity up, but I bounced back.

I spent two years working in a machine shop.  But coming home covered in Cast Iron dust wasn’t my thing.

I served my country in the US Navy for 4 years.  I got the opportunity to go around the world and see so many places.  Countries I have visited: St. Martin, Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Pompeii as well as Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Israel.

Most of the time I was a “pencil pusher”.  Dealing with the ships budget and filing requisition forms.  Super boring for the most part.  Though I will say this, and have been dying to say it for several months.  All this crap people talk about the military paying too much for things is a bunch of bologna.  I watched the money come and go and all the receipts.  Never once did I see a $200 hammer.  I think the most we ever paid was $20 and it was a damn big hammer.  Though one of our biggest costs was toilet paper for 3000+ crew members who were fed low grade and outdated food.  We’d save costs on buying dry food that was past the “best if used by” date.

During my time in the Navy I volunteered for a few exciting and dangerous jobs:

Firefighting

I now know how to fight a fire.  At sea or at home.  I think it’s something everyone should learn as sometimes the Fire Department can arrive too late.  I’ve never had to fight a big fire at sea, but let’s face it.  IF you fight a big fire at sea, you had better win.  Otherwise the alternative is death.  You won’t be energetic enough to swim for very long if your ship goes down in flames because you lost a long hard battle.

Shoring Team

Shoring was to temporarily repair breaches in the hull or piping if the ship takes damage.  It’s not fun and is full of very stressful happenings when things start to flood.

Basic Medial Triage

I never got to use my medical triage training.  Though I have seen a few dead bodies over the years.  Sadly I’ve forgotten most of my training from lack of use.

Mooring Team

This was a team that let loose or helped tie the ship to the docks.  I’ve been on this team the whole time I was assigned to the USS Enterprise.  Everywhere we went, rain, cold or shine I was there.  If you don’t do it right you can lose a limb or even die.

Naval Training Video showing the dangers of Mooring

Underway Replenishment

I was volunteered for Ship to Ship Replenishment detail twice.  If you want an adrenaline rush, try being a lineman on one of these during heavy seas.  You DO NOT want to be this guy if the supplies end up in the ocean.

Warning: Video is boring and does not show heavy sea swells like we dealt with.

Other achievements included a letter of Commendation from President Clinton for his visit aboard our ship.  I was responsible for his floor while he dinned in our officers mess.  Apparently he could see his reflection and was impressed.  ?

Making pay and rank increase without having to test for it by doing a job that is normally reserved for a First Class Petty Officer as an E-3 Airman.  Acing inspection in our department without any help.

The Navy is also where I began learning about computers.  This led to my job at Gateway as a Tech Support Specialist.  For 2 years I made serious bank and benefits.  Sadly it came to an end with all major computer companies outsourcing tech support to India and such.

Case BadgeAfter that I owned by own business for two years.  CR Computers+  I built custom computers and did in-home computer repair and upgrades.  I still keep a list of free software to this day and offer help to friends and such.  I still have one Computer Case Badge I keep around for nostalgia’s sake.

From there I got a job at a small ISP where I still work today.  It celebrated 13 years with them last September.  Personally I don’t know anyone who has put in 13 years in one job.  I’m sure there are plenty who have and have done more.  I just don’t know any.  So I feel it’s a decent achievement to have so much time in one job.

Over the years I have spent time working in Pizza.  Sometimes a manager, most of the time a driver.  Let’s face it, that’s where the easy money is and I’ve proved it time and again.  Little Caesars (x2), Domino’s (x2), Papa Johns (x3), Chanello’s, BC Pizza and Mancino’s.  I’ve put in more time at Pizza places than my current general manager and the assistant manager combined.  I simply don’t want the stress of being a manager of a fast food chain any more.

There were also little crappy jobs I didn’t keep long in there as well.  Being a clothing store pick-up boy wasn’t for me.  Nor was being a dishwasher.  Or a gas station clerk.  Anything 3rd shift got me fired.  I just am not a night owl.

So yes, perhaps this person does work more than I do and works harder.  He’s still quite young and has yet to do a quarter of what I have done in my life.  I’ve done more by the time I was his age than he’s done ever.  I’ve paid my dues.  I’ve served my time and my country.  It’s time I get to sit back and take it easier.  Looking back, I am proud of what I’ve done.

 

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