Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Everybody makes mistakes...everyone has those days

One of the things that is inescapable to all human kind is the ability to screw up.  can i get an amen?  i have, at times, made it my main objective to perfect the craft of mistake making. so for that experience, i feel i have the authority to speak on the subject.

this morning i was presented with an opportunity to help make a bad situation a little better.  it was outside of my control to completely fix it, but i could have definitely improved things.  instead, i took the path of least resistance and decided to kick said help seeker while they were down.  hmmm....as i write those words, it becomes crystal clear that i did not choose wisely.  the point is...i could have helped, but i didn't.  for whatever reason...inconvenience to me, frustration with the situation, the self-righteous thought that "i didn't create this mess...it's not my problem"....whatever.

the question is not whether or not i should have helped....obviously i should have.  my thought today is now that i have messed up...what do i do?  as i was driving to work i kept running the situation through my head...what i could have said or done differently.  how things would be the next time i saw them.  if i accurately detected that note in their voice that they actually wanted to punch me in the face through the phone.  it was in that moment moment that i realized that the best thing i could do now, was just to call back and apologize.  it went something like this....

"hey...i'm really sorry.  i had an opportunity to make things better, and instead i made them worse.  i apologize."

and you know what...it was all ok after that.

so, the moral of the story is, if you make a mistake, don't make it worse by hiding from it or justifying your actions.  just apologize.  sincerely say that you're sorry and put a period on your mistake.  don't let it go one for hours or days or weeks.  do it now.  my two cents.  have a great day!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


life moves pretty fast in my house.  i don't know how it happens, but sometimes there are days that go by where i have the thought "MAN, i forgot to talk with sharon about that AGAIN!"  do you feel me?  our 5 kids span the ages of 3 to 14.  i have 2 jobs.  sharon and i build the photography business together.  schedules, friendships, pets, life...all at a fever pitch.  but there are moments in life that bring all of that into perspective.

on sunday, we found out that an old friend of ours had died last week in an auto accident. he was my age.  married, father of 3. and to top it off, his wife has been battling cancer for the last few years...and now she will continue that fight alone.  i can't imagine it.

as i've been processing this tragedy over the last few days, i found myself imagining if i was in their situation.  if something happened to me....or sharon....how would (could) life for our family continue to move forward? i even asked sharon last night if she knew how to get in touch with our life insurance agent.

for me, these questions are just hypothetical as i deal with my own sense of loss.  for my friends wife and kids, it's a reality that they now live in. but either way, tragedy has a sobering power to bring life's view down to a needle point.  it's simple to sift through the unnecessary and the unimportant...for a time.

i think for me, the real key is to live with this perspective.  i don't mean to live life in mourning, or downcast....but live life where it's easy to see the difference between the unnecessary and truly important.

listen longer.  speak slower.  hug more often.  respond to the moment, not the text message.

keep it clear.....keep it right in front of you...and don't let go.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

just a dog

"he's just a dog"...
that's what i said about our golden retriever...almost bragging to my co-workers how i was "completely in touch with the fact that he was just a dog"

the next morning, i got up for work exactly like i do every morning.  hopped in the shower.  got dressed. tried sneaking down the stairs before all the monsters (i mean blessings) wake up.

don't judge me.  if i don't get out of the house before the kids (particularly the little girls) get up, i get sucked into the tractor beam of parenting that is GETTING READY FOR SCHOOL.  i digress....

i had made it down the stairs...walked through the kitchen and out the back door.  as i sat down in my truck i heard my phone ring...it was sharon.  (strange).  i just saw her.  when i answered she sounded panicked.  "JERAMY....ARE YOU STILL HERE?  YOU CAN'T LEAVE.....PADDY WON'T GET UP!"


i ran back in the house. sharon had managed to coax our 9 year old golden retriever down the stairs, but almost as soon as he got to the bottom, he collapsed on the floor. (shock).  what was happening?  in that moment where my brain was trying to catch up to reality, i noticed that urine started to flood out from underneath Paddy all over the floor.  i knew that wasn't good.

i can still remember the smell of dog urine on the towel i wrapped him in as i carried him to my truck and raced to the vet's office.  i kept telling him that it was going to be ok.  it was 7:45am....they opened at 8.  as i knocked on the door, i noticed someone inside.  as i explained, they began opening the door to let me bring him in.  paddy was weak.  he could barely lifted his head up.  i rubbed his belly as the vet staff started arriving for their day and almost immediately began helping.  his tongue and mouth were pale.  when the doctor arrived, i could read the look of concern on her face.  she was confident, and calm and kind (a great combination in my experience).  she took paddy into the x-ray room.  after a few moments, we looked at the x-rays and the doctor began explaining to me how paddy had lung cancer.  pretty severe at that.   i didn't understand how he could get sick so quickly.  she explained to me how animals have a strong instinct to cover up illness or injury to protect themselves in the wild.  she said it was very common that a family would have no idea anything was wrong until the very end.

i called sharon and told her the news.  about 10 minutes later, she and brady came to the vet to say good bye.  it was an incredibly tough moment.  we had actually met paddy for the first time outside of that very office.  after a few moments with him, we walked out and paddy was gone.

i was wrong.  paddy wasn't just a dog.  he was our dog.  and we're going to miss him.  see ya buddy...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

be patient

when i was a young boy, my mom used to sing the most annoying song to me.

i've tried to erase the melody from my memory banks, but i can't.

in general it said something about being patient.  and still to this day, anytime i am feeling impatient, or i am reminding my kids that they need to just slow down a bit and wait their turn....that STUPID song comes flooding into my head.

seriously....even as i type this i can hear it.

as i was sitting in my office today, i was thinking about how one of my co-workers needed to be a little more patient, guess what i started thinking about.....THAT'S RIGHT....that song that my mom used to sing.


in honor of my mother and the legacy this song has left on my life...I now present the song to you.  my friends.  so that it may also plague you and your children forever.  you're welcome.

who knew it was on youtube.  thank you internet.  enjoy!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

in the end.

i've been reading a book about friendship.

this statement is shocking AND hilarious to those who really know me for two reasons:

1.  i barely read.  i mask my lack of literary prowess by having smart friends, subscribing to a diverse list of podcasts and listening to the occasional audio book on itunes.
2. the book i'm "reading" has been on my bedside table for over 2 years.  i've "read" it 3 times already if you constitute "reading" as starting at page 1 and getting to page 32...and then starting over...again.

but enough about me.  back to the book.

the focus of the book is actually about marriage....which i am doing...i mean, have done....are....well, you understand.  i'm hitched.  for the last 15 years...which is a source of great pride for me.  i enjoy being married.  i love my wife.  i am still incredibly attracted to her.  she makes me laugh.  and even in the midst of the production level parenting that we've placed ourselves in...we still manage to enjoy each others company.
as i flipped to page 28 the other day, the book began talking about friendship in marriage, which wasn't an altogether new concept to me.  but the authors didn't just add it as a foot note and then move on.  as i said, i'm on page 32, and they're still talking about it.  the two authors (a married couple) talked about how they had invested to much time developing friendships with other people.  in relationships, in care and encouragement of others...together and individually....which is a good thing for sure.  but then asked the question if they had really invested to the same degree in their own  friendship as a couple.

that got thinking...no matter who i become friends with in the course of my life.  and, no matter how deep those friendships bore into the soil of my heart....in the end, the person that i will be standing next to is my wife.  someday, either she or i will be sitting in the front row of a church, staring at a wooden box that holds the shell of the person that we spent our life entwined with. because of that fact, i realized that the most important friendship that i should cultivate is with my bride.

i know i can do better at that....can you?

Friday, January 11, 2013

somebody's watching - part 3

as i lay in bed...almost not sleeping....i made a deal with myself.

"ok...if sharon wakes up before i leave the house for work, i'll tell her what happened.  but wait!  i'm going to tell her there's a crazy psycho that's watching every online move i make AND has my phone number and then walk out the door?  like, HEY, DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR IF THE STALKER KNOCKS....I'M GOING TO WORK, SEE YA!  yeah, i doubt that would be smart.  no.  i don't want to worry her.  i'll just keep it to myself until i get home at the end of the day and then i'll tell her....right?  ok.  plan!"

scary how my brain works, huh?

so, that's what i did.  i'm always the first one up in the morning, so i got up.  showered and went to work.  everyone was sleeping soundly in the bliss of a world that doesn't include crazy people.  i was glad for them.  frightened for myself, but glad for them. 

as i drove into the office, i called my best friend vince....who is a therapist....for real a therapist.  he deals with crazy people all the time, right?  he'll know what to do.  :-)

after telling vince the whole story he began to laugh....really?  yes!  like, only the way your best friend can laugh at you when you are in the middle of some life altering trama (ok, that's a little extreme, but you get the idea) and yet, still you don't punch them in the face.  i asked him...."so, you really think this is funny?"  he said, "actually, no.  it's not.  everything that you just described to me is textbook delusional behavior.  this women...vicki, believes that she has a relationship with you and that you have been communicating with her.  she has created a world for herself and you are a major part of it.  you don't know what a person in that state is capable of, so if i were you, i would cut any possible ties this women has to you.  any possible online access at all."  he asked me if i had told sharon.  i told him that i didn't want to scare her, and he said that i needed to tell her right away. 

that's when i really got scared.  what if she had money and knew enough of where i lived that she could hop on a plane and come out here.  it sounds crazy....but only because it's me.  not because it's never happened.  right at that moment my phone rang.  it was sharon. 

she was calling to say good morning or something sweet like that.  she certainly wasn't expecting to hear the tale that i began telling her.  i didn't open with "hey, babe...guess what, i've got a stalker".  i just started at the beginning.  i was just getting to the part of the story where the crazy psycho said for the first time that her name was vicki when sharon interrupted me.  "vicki....that's so strange.  i get random voice mail messages every now and again from some lady named vicki in ohio too!"


sharon went on...."yeah, i just always figured it was a wrong number or something" 

i started to feel my heart sink into my chest.  HOW DID THIS PSYCHO GET MY WIFE'S PHONE NUMBER???  this may be more serious than i thought.  psycho lady was calling sharon too!

i finished my story and sharon was remarkably calm.  she said that everything would be fine.  just do what vince said and don't worry.  i love her.  i was so grateful that she was level headed in that moment, because honestly, i was on my way to the gun store right after i bought our new doberman pinscher puppy.  so, that day i went through all of my social media removing vicki....it was a lot more labor intensive than i expected.  youtube, facebook, twitter, my blog, google+, instagram....it's amazing how much access i had given a stranger, to my family.  scary actually.  i have been a lot more careful since then.

in the days following, i monitored the psycho's blog and facebook page to see if she was writing anything else about me, and with the exception of one final kiss off blog post to me, i am happy to report that there hasn't been any other contact made.  vicki seems to have taken her imaginary ball to play elsewhere, never to be heard from again (i hope)....and for that, i am thankful.   i'm grateful that nothing serious happened, and that i was given a pretty painless wake up call to be a little more careful on the intrawebs.  you never know who's watching....