Family

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Four… Four Years… Ah, ah, ah, ahhhh

4 YearsI’ve been back now for 4 years.  I have achieved some of my goals.  Not as many as I had planned to achieve by now.  As it is, my original plan for life never did turn out the way I hoped.  Sometimes it feels like I may as well just hang it up and switch to plan B.  Trouble is, I don’t have a plan B.

I’ve admitted my mistakes.  For those, I am sorry.  I know God has forgiven me.  I’m still here when he simply could’ve let me die and be forgotten.  I am truly thankful for that.  I say a prayer every night letting him know just how thankful I am.  I also pray that he bless all the souls, worthy and unworthy in hopes they too appreciate the blessings he’s given onto all of us.

I always made the best of the situations I was presented in my life.  Even when it all fell apart completely and I had nothing left (2011 – 2012).  I didn’t give up.  I put my best foot forward, saved up enough money and got myself back to Michigan.  I’ve reconstructed my life, my credit and I’m still working to be a better man emotionally, physically and financially.  I did it on my own.  Though, I still have some work to do.

If I could go back and change it at the beginning, I would.  I still want to be the Dad I intended to be from the start.  Now also, a grandpa 🙂

I enjoy spending time with my oldest son, and I love spending time with my grandson Noah.  Who is happy to see me and plays with me.  I’m still trying to spend more time with my youngest son and grandson Judah.  I pray that changes soon before my time here is up.

Personal Protection is Expensive

PistolAs many of you know, I recently became a gun owner.  I’m by no means an enthusiast.  I don’t plan to own a bunch of guns and go shooting every weekend.  Though, I have no issues with people owning or using guns for self protection and hunting.  So long as safety is always observed.  I have for a very long time wanted to buy a handgun.  It’s just never been within my top ten things to get next for my life.  That is, not until very recently.

While I would like to think of Northern Lower Michigan as a safe and family friendly corner of the world.  Crime is everywhere.  That and what I have chosen to do for a living has made me a target to be robbed while at work in the evening.  So among some changes I’ve made at work to help cut down on the risk of not only being robbed, but if so; I won’t be held responsible for lost income.

Every major chain I’ve ever worked for has a drop-box system.  After every delivery, the driver is to drop any large bills and credit card slips into a locked box so they are not carrying large amounts of money during their shift.  A drop-box is simply a wall mounted locked box that only the manager can access with a slot to insert bills and slips quickly between delivery runs.  The chain I work for now, has no such device.  That is until today.  I ordered one and will have it installed.  However, that doesn’t help me while I’m still on the road before coming back to the store.

This is where the handgun has become one of the items on top of my list lately.  Sadly these things are not cheap.  Even a budget priced gun has set me back several hundred dollars.  While I would love to have a Glock or other high end brand gun.  I have to start where I can afford.  So after much research and conversations with the folks at Jay’s Sporting Goods, I’ve settled on a Glock-like conceal carry gun.  A Taurus 709 9mm.  It’s not top of the line, but it’s got good reviews for the most part.

Costs so far:

  • Gun – $280
  • Ammo for Sighting and Practice – $14
  • Ammo for CPL Class – $28
  • Ammo for Critical Defense – $19
  • CPL Class – $120
  • CPL License – $105
  • Cleaning Supplies – $26
  • Gun Case (Rug) – $9
  • Safety Glasses and Hearing Protection for Practice – $25
  • Holster – $15

So all in all, I’ve spent $641 dollars.  That’s a lot of money for me.  That’s $31 more than my rent per month.  So yeah, I’m not taking this lightly by any means.  I haven’t even fired it yet.  I need a place to go and get it sighted in before I take the class later this month.  At some point, I’m sure I’ll have to tack on a membership to a shooting range.  Unless I make a friend who also owns guns and lives in the great outdoors.  It’s a shame I don’t live near Amber anymore.  I know she’d want to go shooting with me.

This will not only help protect me while working, but at home as well.  My home has been robbed in the past.  While I was home no less.  Then I had a .22 rifle my step-dad gave me and couldn’t get to it.  A handgun will be much easier to put that kind of nonsense to rest.  Down the road I’ll want to get a nicer conceal carry gun.  Maybe next year.

Working from Home

Working from HomeI’ve been doing this for longer than I had expected.  This isn’t a bad thing.  I just find it surprising.  I keep waiting for the end to come in one form or another.  None of the outcomes are pleasant, but I’m sure it’s inevitable given enough time.  I originally got the chance to work from home when my health suddenly became an issue and was told without concern for my feelings that I would likely “live another two years”.  Sure it was followed up with, “if you work very hard, you might be able to live longer”.  That’s no fun thing to hear.  Thankfully with God’s grace, that was nearly 5 years ago.  I have been doing walks and such, just need to do more when I can.

When that all happened, I made a deal with my employer to be able to move back to Michigan and work from home.  That was just over four years ago.  Since then my hours have been reduced to only 20-25 hours a week.  Making me take on a supplemental part-time job.  As demeaning as it may be, it does make fairly decent money.  Just a bit rough on my car.  The second job gives me 18-20 hours a week plus tips.  Though I only work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights right now.  Unless I’m called in to cover someone.

What frustrates me is that after almost 2 years of doing the evening job, it’s like my day job no longer exists to certain people.  I’ve been told by a few different people that I only work 3 days a week.  So my working 5-6 days a week during the morning hours means nothing to them.  Even though it pulls a paycheck, gets me Dental insurance and money specifically for covering my Health Insurance plan.  That doesn’t qualify it as a real job.  Is there some requirement that I must leave the house in order for it to be taken seriously?  Trust me, telecommuting is only cool for about six months.  Then you get real tired of looking at your house day in and day out.  Well maybe lazy unemployed types might like doing that.  Me, I like to get out of the house daily.  I digress.

My health is having further issues.  Of course I’m frightened of what may happen.  I don’t know if I’ll need another stent put in one of my arteries.  Or if it’s something far more serious.  I won’t know until I have some doctor visits and what I’m sure will be endless expensive tests.  Which makes me worry that I won’t be able to work my second job anymore.  I really don’t relish the thought of being unable to work a physical job or some day having to be on disability.  That scares the hell out of me.  I pray it will only be a need to change or adjust dosages of my medicine.  Besides I don’t want to be locked in my house forever.  I’d like to find a full time job that fits me physically, mentally and emotionally (and pays decent).  I look frequently.  Just not a lot of choices around Smallville.

Plot Twist

Plot TwistLife for us this past year has been very… fluid.  To say the very least.  “Such is life.”, as it goes.  The plot twists to reveal new decisions, new directions and things that must be handled prior to going forward.  So things are going to slow down as Darla and I remain engaged (just want to make that clear right now), but will put the wedding even further back.  In the next few months, Darla will relocate back to Bay City to handle family matters.  Once her daughter, Alexis graduates high school and moves on with her own life, then Darla and I can resume our own.

I know what you’re thinking.  Why don’t I move to Bay City with Darla?  I’m still working on my own things dealing with my own family.  I’ve explained this time and time again.  I don’t feel I need to explain it further.  Get down on me all you like.  I made my decision and Darla understands.  I’m not about to break promises just because something gets in the way.

We haven’t decided on a new wedding date yet.  Likely be May 3, 2021?  It’s hard to say.  A lot can change between now and then.  But I assure you, like always, we’ll keep you up to date.  We’ll also update our wedding site as well.

Coming Together

Coming TogetherThings are slowly but every so surely coming together in our home/castle.  It’s not much, but it’s comfortable and we enjoy our time here.  First up is the newest member of the family, Isabel!

She’s about 2 and a half years old.  Hound mix, Schiller Hound perhaps?  It’s hard for me to say.  Her ears don’t match that, but the body shape pretty much seems too.  She’s super friendly and is partially trained.  Can’t sit or stay yet, but does know how to take a walk and comes to her name and understands no and such.  So we’ve got some training to do.

Good lord I need a better camera.

Our place is starting to look more like a home.  No longer are we using the camping chairs.  We have Darla’s couch.  Although I found the camping chairs to be much more comfortable.  And thanks to Vicki, we now have a small kitchen table and chairs 🙂  I’m not a handyman, so likely will never get refinished.  Looking for a 48″ round, fitted tablecloth.  Can’t seem to find any around town, so searching Amazon and such.

Surprisingly that small window AC unit manages to keep this place at a decent temp.  We close off the spare room during the hot months.  Though next year we might get a second one to keep the first from working so hard all the time.  When it’s in the high 80’s and 90’s it struggles some in the afternoon time.

The spare room needs some decorations.  Such as posters.  We’re preparing it for Alexis should she come visit from time to time.  It’s actually hard to find Shinedown or other posters she’d like in podunk nowhere.

I keep the yard looking decent.  For a desert of weeds that is.  The flower garden is done by my mom.  She can’t do it at her new place, so she does it here.  Which is good, as I’d just throw some easy to grow crap in and let nature do the rest.  Darla and I don’t really do gardens.  Next year I hope to get a small gas weed eater.  One thing at a time.  Up next, a new snow blower.  The old one my mom has works decent but it scares me.

Not sure how long we’ll be in this place, but it’s looking like we will renew the lease this winter.  Going to be tough to find anything at the end of January.  Best option we can hope for is to get lucky for a rent-to-own situation.  Long story.   No one really wants to read about that here as it would be in the form of another rant 😉

Edit: The curtains are not ours.  They were left here from the previous tenant.  They will get replaced at some point.

Summer Update

Summer NightsWell summer is finally here and we are looking forward to getting some normalcy around here.  As of this week, I managed to calm down my insane amount of work hours to a basic 40 hours between jobs.  Though one full time job is still something I hope to have soon.  Possibly with decent medical benefits as I’ve had little to no good luck with Obama’s care.  At least I’ve managed to take back my Sundays.  Again.

Even though I don’t have any vision coverage, I got some new glasses.  It’s been over 3 years and while I should have had bifocals, I couldn’t afford them in 2013, so I did single vision lens glasses.  Just took them off to read.  I can’t say I’m all for this progressive lens thing.  I move my eyes about way too much and it’s like being stuck in a funhouse.  Only it’s not so fun.  That and they only give me a small reading area to use and I have to tilt my head back to do it.  So I had to get another, cheap set just for the use of my computer.  Talk about a huge change!  I’ve spent years just not wearing any glasses while sitting at my desk.  Apparently I just got used to things not looking clear as they should.  Now they are clear and it’s like a new world.

Darla has made a full recovery and her life is nearly normal again too.  Working at her new job and enjoying it for the most part.  She’s down to a very respectable size 14 and we’re working on getting her new, more flattering clothing to go with the changes as we can.  Her incision is healing very nicely and will fade to almost nothing in a year or so.

Soon we can begin to enjoy doing summer activities.  Just need to straighten out a few things first.  Perhaps see some concerts or fireworks.  Enjoy a bonfire and toasted marshmallows.  Things we loved as kids and haven’t done in years.  Once again, take time to visit family.  Maybe, just maybe a barbeque will take place.

I also tuned down my side work to strictly web designs and WordPress themes.

Princesses, Puppies and Pabulum

Darla, Chase and WheatYeah it took me a while to come up with that title.  Fits, but a bit stretched 😉

Darla seems to be making a fast recovery from her surgeries already.  She’s back to work earlier than expected, though I still caution her to not overexert herself.  No matter what her coworkers may try to get her to do.  Like it or not, she’s still healing.

This means I’m going to try to take my Sunday’s back.  Again.  However, the night job boss seems less than willing to even listen to me lately.  I’m averaging just under 60 hours per week and would like to trim it back to the average 40 hours between both jobs.

Darla was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when this all started.  That determination was concluded from a blood test.  Her surgeon never seemed to agree with her Primary Care Provider.  The surgeon did an endoscopic biopsy last week and we found out she in fact, does not have Celiac.  She can eat whatever pleases her.  Which is a good thing.  A gluten-free diet is terribly expensive.  It over doubled our weekly grocery budget.  Much of the products offered taste horrible, is hard to chew and some of it even gives the worst diarrhea imaginable.  So we pity those who must suffer with this.

Also, we are looking to adopt a puppy or dog.  One of the hardest things I ever did was leave my most precious friend behind when I moved from Virginia to Michigan.  You see him pictured above.  When we rescued him from a shelter, his name was Chauncey.  We shortened it to Chase.  He was smart and gorgeous.  A very unique mutt.  He was there to help me through anything and was always glad to see me.  Leaving him behind broke my heart so badly.  It hurt worse than the heart attacks.  I couldn’t find a place that would allow pets, plus he was getting old.  Michigan winters would’ve been really rough on him.  I always question if I made the right call leaving him.  It hurt worse when I took him to the shelter because no one would take him when I offered.  Of course once I did, my ex-wife rescued him.  If he’s still alive, he’s with her.   I hope he’s happy there.  I still think about him daily and miss him like crazy.

It’s been a few years now and I live where I can have pets.  I’m not much of a cat person.  Neither is Darla.  My mom’s cat is cool.  Though a cool cat like her is a rare find.  So we’d rather have a dog.  I miss playing with Chase.  I miss him snuggling up to watch movies with me.  I miss him nudging my hand to let me know he loved me.  Even when the world seemed like it turned its back on me.  He was there.

I know I can’t replace him.  Never expect to.  However finding a dog around here is proving difficult.  The shelter rarely has any dogs.  The only one we’ve seen is a Pitbull mix who was so high strung it was scary.  That and “do not put dog bed in cage” was a sign he’d rip up the house.  I don’t see any postings in the paper or on craigslist.  Everyone who has a dog, says they got it out of town.  So if anyone knows of a dog or puppy who needs a home, let us know.  (or call us of course)  We don’t need a pure breed of any kind.

It’s been 3 Years

Clock / CalendarToday marks 3 years since I’ve returned to Michigan.  Unfortunately many of my plans haven’t gone as well as I had hoped for.  There has been plenty of obstacles to overcome, death of those I knew but thankfully who weren’t close to me and lots of changes.

On the upside, I’m still alive.  Which is a good thing.  Still have pains in my chest fairly regularly.  Haven’t had the time or the money to even bother with a cardiologist since I’ve been here.  My family doctor has been watching me, knowing I can’t afford things like stress tests and fancy fees.  I’m healthy enough to work, but can’t afford decent health coverage on my wages.  I’m so pissed at Obama and yet our current available replacements don’t look any better.  Can we vote to get new candidates?  I digress.

Sadly some of the things I wanted to really do, like get close to my sons again, hasn’t really worked like I had planned.  I had hoped to move to East Jordan, but it’s hard to find an affordable place and there really isn’t any work for me in that town.  Even if I did, I don’t know if it would help much.  With me working so much, it’s hard to find time.  Though I’m less than an hour away.  Perhaps things will progress this year.  There have been good things happening though, such as Adam and Laura’s Wedding and the birth of my 3 grandsons.  Judah Allen Fowler, Noah Allen Fowler (notice a pattern?) and Hayden LaPradd.  So far I’ve only got to meet the two Fowler’s once, other than that, I’m watching them grow up on Facebook 😐 I so hope for an invite once in a while.

I’m very happy having gotten back to being able to play the drums.  It’s been years upon years since I gave them up.  When I got back, my first tax return afforded me my new drum kit.  Sadly it’s not an acoustic kit, but I’m sure the neighbors are pleased not to hear me practice 😀  I had hoped to build up to doing an actual concert with my talented children.  Still want to do it very much.  I’m not giving up on that yet, but it’s certainly been postponed.  Just one concert though.  Not looking to make a career of it, simply fulfilling a dream.  I’m anxious to share the experience.

I had also hoped to reconnect with old friends.  In this time I haven’t been successful in making any new friends either.  All of my gamer friends have disbanded and moved on to either a game free life or console gaming.  Of which I’m still not into.  I’m still a PC gamer, but try as I may, I’m a lifer when it comes to World of Warcraft.  As before, I’m only playing by myself.  Darla has expressed an interest in playing with me, but hasn’t really put much time into it yet.  We were still working on just moving around before she ended up in surgery.  She hasn’t touched it since.  I even switched back to the Alliance so she wouldn’t have to play ugly monsters 🙂  I don’t play as much though.  Work gets in the way 😉

As it was, finding a part time job was a hell of an adventure and I’m still seeking what I want to do for a career change.  Something with less customer service stupidity would be nice for a change.  Although as of May 22, I had to finally relent not working on Sunday to help sustain our household income while Darla heals from her colectomy and removal of an ovary.  She’s healing quite well, but will be some weeks before she’s strong enough to work again.  Hopefully soon we will be able to go on the long walks we planned to get exercise in.  We have an exercise bike, but getting out of the house while it’s summer would be much nicer.  Even if the town isn’t as pretty as it used to be.

I still don’t find my town as charming and pretty as I once did.  It looks tired and worn out.  The roads are horrible and the maintenance they do is an absolute joke in town.  The interstate got a nice make over between Gaylord and Waters.  Thankfully it’s finally spring, so I have the trees and flowers to distract me from the time worn buildings and trash laden sidewalks.  Seems I’ve pretty much run the gamut on nostalgia around here already.  Didn’t think it would be so lackluster…

The best I’ve experienced since my moving back is Darla and me reconnecting.  Though that hasn’t been without it’s series of challenges and changes.  From our engagement, to the multiple changes in plans and the unfortunate postponement.  My mom seems to love her to death, which is a pleasant change in my life.

All in all it’s been an experience.  Can’t say it’s been good or bad when you add it all up.  It’s clear I still have work to do with my sons.  I just don’t want to force myself into their lives.  I’m not asking anything but forgiveness and acceptance.  I also hope to make some new friends eventually.  As well, I pray for a few more good years in health so I can spend them with Darla and my grandsons as well.  Play my concert and die fulfilled in the knowledge I made some impact in this world.  And leave some good memories for others behind.

Don’t come to my funeral to show how much you cared about me.  Show me how much you care about me now..  While I’m alive.

~ Unknown

Old ‘n’ Moldy

Moldy PizzaNo I’m not describing myself.  Though I feel that way some days.  I just realized I’ve been doing this two part-time job thing for over a year now.  Wasn’t my intention by any means.  Every week I’ve looked for a new job.  One that would be full-time and I would find satisfying to do.  Of course there is factory work.  I simply couldn’t deal with the lack of mental challenge.  I would die inside of intellectual boredom.  Doing the same repetitive thing endlessly.

With Darla needing two surgeries, I’m the only income this house has now.  So I have to work my hind-end off just to make the bills and minimums of daily life here.  It’s going to suck for about two months, give or take.  I was doing 45-55 hours a week.  Now it looks like I’m going to be doing 60-70 hours a week.  Yikes…

What I do isn’t really the problem.  Tech by day, delivery driver by night, tech and web designer on the side.  In so much as I’m just becoming bored of doing it.

Yes, I gotta do what I gotta do.  Better this way than begging for overtime in a dead brain job.  Especially if I already hated working 40 hours a week doing it.  That would suck.

Sadly with the increase in hours I’m working, I won’t be able to do much side computer work between jobs.  So I’m suspending computer builds and repairs until things get to back to normal.  Hopefully that won’t take all summer.  However, small website jobs and WordPress themes I can do and it will help make money for the household.  I’ll even do them on the cheap to make it more appealing.

For Locals Only! Get up to a 5 page informational website, with contact form page for only $50! Get a custom made WordPress theme for only $20! If you need a domain name or webhosting, call (989) 217-8890 or Email for more Details.

Funerals

I wasn’t going to put this out here as it’s mostly a beef between me and a couple individuals.  Every time the subject comes up, I get an angry attitude of their right and I’m wrong regardless of my opinions.  Yet through various conversations with others, I’m not alone in my feelings.  This medium allows me to put out my feelings without interruption.

Since having returned to Michigan, I’ve been invited to 4 different funerals.  I went to the first one and was so bored and lost.  I only knew a handful of people.  The person who died I had been introduced to once, but never got to know.  Pretty much all I heard about this person was their drinking problem and it was the major factor in their death.  I so relieved when it was over.

The second was to a person who was related to me by marriage.  I haven’t seen or heard from them since the 80’s.  Really hadn’t even thought about them as they divorced from my relative.  The day of the funeral I worked a double shift.

The third funeral I was invited to, was a person who used to bully me in High School.  Clearly I’m not interested in mourning someone like that.

The forth was a relative who I haven’t spoken to in 30 some years.  My reasons are my own, but when I heard of this passing I felt sorry for the family members who would miss this person.  I gave my condolences.  However, my not being close to this person, and the fact that I need to work to pay the bills.  I chose not to attend the funeral.  Especially since my income is currently the only stable income at the moment.  I now work two part time jobs, I no longer have vacation time to take.  So unless it’s very important to me to do something that makes me miss work, it’s not going to happen.

So the reasons I haven’t wanted to attend funerals are:

  • I’m not going to a funeral of those who bullied me in High School
  • I’m not going to a funeral of those I haven’t given a second thought too in 30+ years
  • I’m not going to a funeral of someone who I’m not close to or even really know
  • I can’t afford to take time off work

The word I got from this latest funeral, was that everyone at the funeral was coming to my wedding.  However, since I didn’t go, they in-turn weren’t coming to my wedding.  Odd, as far as I know, no one besides my mother from the funeral was invited in the first place.  Mostly because of the 5 times we asked for addresses of those who wanted to come, none of these people responded.

I’m told that funerals are for the living.  Basically to talk about the dead.  Which I didn’t want to do.

I’ve been told that there are people in my family wanting to contact me.  I’ve given my number to some of them several months ago.  At the funeral my number was given to someone who supposedly begged for it.  They have yet to call me.  The only person who has called me, only wanted their laptop fixed.  Since I finished the job, not one sound from them.

So why does it take a funeral for these people to supposedly want my attention?  Why not when there isn’t a funeral?  It’s not like it’s hard to find me.  I’m on Facebook, Google+, my phone number is publicly listed, you can do a search for “Denver Fowler” and find me in your favorite search engine and I have email forms on just about every website I maintain.  This website alone has been online since 1999.  So if the effort hasn’t been made by now, I doubt the sincerity.  If someone really wanted to get a hold of me, it wouldn’t take a whole lot of effort on their part.  I can’t make it any easier.

I was faced with my own death and survived.  I was told however my time here is limited and I should put my affairs in order.  Which is why I came back to Michigan.  My affairs deal with my two sons.  Something I’ve been working on, but not trying to force myself upon them.  Things between us didn’t work out like I wanted when I left.  I expected to remain close to them.  Sadly money was an issue, so I didn’t visit like I wanted too.  We grew apart.  I’m back and doing what I can to make up for the past.  That is my number one goal.  Darla coming back into my life was a very unexpected and pleasant surprise bonus 😀

When I do die, I don’t want a big deal funeral.  I don’t want to be stuffed in a coffin.  I only want people tell lighthearted tales if they really mean it.  I’d rather be cremated, used to fertilize a beautiful tree.  Family and friends who actually cared, perhaps 10 people tops; can have a small gathering in a living-room somewhere and have coffee and share a laugh.  Say a prayer that God will forgive me for my wrongs and allow me into heaven.  From there, just leave me a small spot for a memory you fondly have.

So no, I won’t feel guilty for not going.  If someone close to my heart dies, I’ll be sure to attend.  I’ll be attending for them.  Not because it’s the only time anyone who hasn’t talked to me in years to finally do so.

Also, before I published this, Darla read it.  She understands my opinions.  Do not take it out on her if you are offended.

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