As I left the Post Office for the umpteenth day in a row, I thought well I don’t have to worry about not having a pen!
As I had approached my PO box, I realized that I forgot my pen at home. If a payment arrived, and I needed to fill out a deposit slip, I quickly came up with some options…
I could borrow a pen from the Postmaster inside. The lights were on and they were open.
I could walk back home real quick and grab a pen.
I might find one on the table inside near the cork boards where people post things.
I stuck the key in, opened the little metal door.
I walked across the street to the little park called Goat Island. I try to get over there at least once a day as they have a pull up bar and a couple other pieces of exercise equipment that I use to do dips and vertical crunches and things. I wanted to find a beautiful place to write a bit.
I had some very old sports bag from a time when my kids were small. It was one of those single shoulder back packs. I had my ipad and wireless keyboard in it. The bag does not feel very ‘cool’ but it is functional and I use it for lots of things from paddleboarding trips to carrying my ipad to write to hiking trips where I fill it with extra bottles of water for whomever.
Its a misty feeling kind of morning. There is almost a fog in the air that you can feel but can’t see. The park was sparsely populated with less than a half dozen kids and three times as many parents.
I did 11 pull ups, 25 vertical crunches and 10 very crappy dips. I wondered to myself why my arms felt like they couldn’t go all the way through an extension to do a single decent dip?
I didn’t over think it and did some very good form push ups breathing completely out as I went down and breathing in through my nose as I went up. I find I get more out of push ups in terms of strength when I breathe like this as opposed to trying to do as many pushups as possible in a short amount of time like I used to do when I was still in the Army two decades ago.
I took pictures along the way of flowering trees, of two twisted trees that reminded me of a different pair of trees that I had seen a couple weeks earlier on a mountain near my girlfriend’s home. We had taken a picture under those trees twisted together in a couple hundred year love affair of their own. Later today, I will travel to see her after she gets off work in the early evening. Its been a long couple of weeks.
I had a lot to do and I worked like crazy to get it done. I ran into a lot of obstacles and road blocks and challenges that slowed me down, force me to take the long way around things, made me delay, created a pause in one project and had me skipping over to another.
I had planned to pick up some car parts, spark plugs and rear brake pads for my Suburu. One of the rear brakes was squealing, just started and I wanted to get those replaced before they caused damage.
It was pretty hot yesterday and I had no covered area to work, so I waited until the temperature started to drop. I had envisioned working on my car around 6 when the temperatures were coming down, but I still had plenty of daylight.
Around 5:20 I got a call from my teenage son. His van had died (again) and wouldn’t start. He was stuck at school on the opposite side of town about 22 minutes away. I loaded up some tools in my car in case it was something I could fix. His mother had a friend work on the van a week earlier replacing the fuel pump and a fuel filter. I spoke with her a bit and she mentioned something about a fuel line that hadn’t fit right and later about something that might not be the right part.
Our communications have not been great lately. I’m consciously trying to improve those with her, but when a problem pops up, I now realize that both of our instincts are to revert back to guarded, aloof communications. This same behavior caused a miscommunication to inflate into a complete break down in trust about 10 days earlier.
I took steps to heal and improve things on my side. I told her about what I was doing and more. This was my choice. I can only work on myself. It takes two to communicate or to miscommunicate.
Someday I hope we will become as good at coparenting as we used to be as married parents.
I arrived at my son’s school. We went through some troubleshooting. I crawled under the van and traced the fuel lines to the new pump and filter. None of the lines appeared to be crimped nor disconnected. The electrical connection to the pump seemed to be good. As I checked this, I thought of the fuse box.
The van has about 210,000 miles on it. Fuses do not blow on it often, but they have blown a couple times throughout the years.
I popped the lid on the fuse case and found the fuse for the fuel pump. I pulled it out and it looked good, but sometimes fuses and their looks can be deceptive. I pulled a case of fuses out of the van’s glove box. I had stocked these in the van about 6 years earlier when the van still belonged to Corbin’s mother and I. There were actually a lot of memories in that glove box and I wasn’t completely ready for all of them.
I parked those feelings and persisted on.
I replaced the fuse and tested the van. It still wouldn’t start.
I removed the air filter and tested again. Still no go.
We were about to go buy some starting fluid, when Corbin found a can I had used 3 weeks earlier when I had worked on the van last. An effort that later resulted in miscommunication and a blow up with his Mom and I.
Finding it was a win, and saved us time and money. I used the starting fluid to spray some into the carb, showing Corbin how this was done. I turned over the van.
It started. The engine was good. It died of course, as the engine was not getting more fuel.
Something definitely in either the lines, the pump, or the filter.
There was not much more I could do at that point. The van belongs to his mother. She had gone to a part time job teaching painting classes I think. We have very definitive boundaries established in this area and any next steps were hers. I was on thin, new ice doing what I did..
Corbin and I packed up his stuff in my car and headed home with my squeaky brake.
I got to my home, he unloaded his stuff and went in to pack to head back to his Mom’s for the next 7 days. My 7 days had ended about an hour earlier. Saying goodbye to my kids this week, seemed to be extra difficult for each of us.
I grabbed my ipad and watched a quick 3:32 second video on doing brakes on my car. I’ve done brakes a handful of times before, but not on the Suburu. I wanted to make sure there were no surprises.
Watching the video, I realized I had no brake cleaner. So I loaded up my tools back in the car and drove 2 miles to the nearest Advanced Auto and picked up some cleaner and rubber gloves..
Came back home and unloaded the tools again..
It took me about an hour to figure out how to jack up the car and block it safely. There is so much protective plastic liner under the Suburu that I couldn’t quite figure out where to put the blocks(jack stands – black metal triangular things that I bought decades back when I was in the Army. they have endured as have I.)
After I persisted through that challenge. The wheel came off some what easy, even though I had to improvise some leverage as the crow bar is about 8 inches long and was only slightly more effective than trying to break the lug nuts loose with my toes. Some cost accountant at Suburu was having a good laugh at me over that one. Should have brought the car into a dealership, they were laughing. Should have bought a squirrel
Things went pretty fast after that. Finished one wheel and then finished the other. It was pitch black as I started the second wheel. I opened up the rear passenger door just to get some light from the door so I could see.
The car was fixed. I had persisted through it and didn’t mind feeding the mosquitos too much. They just wanted appetizers and hadn’t come to suck me dry.
Corbin loaded his stuff up and I drove him to his mothers. I got to see my pets, two dogs and two of the cats when I dropped him off. I got to see my girls too who had left earlier. We all felt lonely. There was something heart wrenching about working so hard all day, working for myself and for my family and then at the end of the day, not being allowed to be with the people I loved. Can’t say anything good about divorce.
Drove home and shed some tears when I arrived. That was a bit of a surprise but I have learned to let those emotions go and don’t bottle them up where they can rear up and do damage to anyone later.
I cleaned up a bit and checked my email. A client site migration was still pending. It had been close to 24 hours and I was antsy. I took a bath and ate some left overs.
After I got out of the tub, I cooled off on the porch and was headed to bed when I got an email saying that the migration was done!
Another goal accomplished. Roberto at Pressable had come through, probably working late himself, maybe persisting.
This all left me with the impression that I need to stop persisting.
I need to reduce my struggle. I need to succeed again. I need to let things come easily to myself. Life does not need to be this hard.
The movie line, “I’ve been defending my life so hard lately.” Comes back to me.
I have to stop that shit and start succeeding and letting go of the things that require a ridiculous level of persistence.
This month, this year I have just about emptied my cup of everything. It was not by choice. I went kicking and screaming the whole way.
But the thing is about empty now along with my bank account
Its time to start filling up my cup with good things, successful things, happy things, loving things and beautiful things
Not sure how I am going to do all this yet, but have some ideas…
Hope you are able to get away from the struggle as well. May you give yourself an amazingly happy and successful day at whatever you do and if you feel too much persistence is required, ease up on yourself and let the easy happen!
‘Personal Note’, I suppose these are all personal…
I was walking back from the park after my iPad let me know that there was only 8% left on the battery. As I walked away from the picnic table I was at, I noticed an empty condom package on the ground. Part of me thought, ‘Gross!’ And part of me thought, ‘Its a beautiful park and I am glad that someone is living life and enjoying the beauty of nature.’ After all, I didn’t see em. They had no impact on me. Sort of wish they didn’t litter, but sometimes things blow away in the wind and the heat of the moment I suppose.
That’s not why I’m writing this personal note!
I walked back across the river, over the bridge. I had noticed that my favorite restaurant had brown paper up on the windows when I walked by before. I was at a distance and wanted to check it out.
This is one of the best deli’s in the county. I hoped the remodeling wouldn’t take too long.
I walked over and saw a couple signs taped to the door.
This place was in walking distance. It was a big reason why I moved here. Their food and the ambience of the place have seen me through some tough days and inspired my writing on countless occasions. I wish them well, but as I walked on home, I kept feeling that as my cup continues to empty, as I continue to lose things that defined my past, maybe this was another sign from the universe that its time for me to move on too.
Move on in what I am doing. Move on in where I am living. Move on in how I am living and more maybe.
This required persistence is starting to feel like me fighting the tide. Maybe my life is truly not supposed to go this way and I need to get busy finding the way my life IS supposed to go.