Posts Tagged With: family

What is a mom worth?

What is a wife and stay at home mom worth? That’s the question that has been raised in a couple of venues I have been in recently. Now, I am not talking about the love aspect, because love is priceless. I can’t and won’t put a price on my love for my wife, that just IS.

My beautiful wife and I both worked when we were first wed a couple of months ago, but due to totally opposite and conflicting schedules, money that wasn’t worth the time, and just her physical well being, we decided it would be best for the family if she stayed at home. So now she is a stay at home mom and housewife and I absolutely love it. Money is tight, but the girls have their mom all day, which I believe is important. She isn’t taxing her body like she was before, which always worried the hell out of me. Also, she doesn’t have to stress and worry about her safety being a waitress working a graveyard shift.

To me, this is all priceless.

Lately she has shown some concern over money as things are tight, to which I have this to say: Babe, you are contributing more than you think. I don’t worry about things like I used to, we will get through the tight finances and debt and we will be okay. Don’t worry about not bringing home a paycheck. You do things that are just as important, if not more so, on a daily basis. I love you.

This article says these things in a much better way than I can, so I will share it for your reading pleasure: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-roles/value-of-stay-at-home-moms/the-value-of-stay-at-home-moms

Now, if some of you disagree with me and this article and think that this is all easy and stay at homes mom have it easy, I say try and do it without one. See how hard it can get. Better yet, hire out to other people. Get yourself people that do all the things a stay at home mom does and see how much it costs you. The average stay at home mom puts in 96.5 hours of work a week according to Salary.com and Forbes. Imagine paying a housekeeper, a cook, a launderer, a driver for errands, (etc.) for all of this and then having them on call for nights too. Yup, it would run you a huge bill.

In the end though, as I already said, it is all priceless. You can’t put a value on what a mom and a wife does, it will never come out right. Just love them and help them when they need it.

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Categories: Family, Life, money, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Fathers Eyes

I’m sitting here at work and waiting. Waiting for a phone call from someone I need to talk to about running a class and waiting for someone to come in so I can fit test his respirator. Sometimes this job is a lot of hurry up and wait. Waiting leads to thinking and pondering.

This morning getting out of bed was not high on my priority list, though it had to be done. I hit the snooze button on my alarm, only for it to magically go off again right away (I’m sure to the annoyance of my wife). I looked at the clock and it said it was five minutes later, but I know that was a lie. I had just hit the snooze button, no way it could be five minutes later. I dragged myself out of bed and in to the bathroom, cat weaving in and out of my feet, to discover the top hinge on the bathroom door was broke. Mentally cataloging another fix, I closed the door, turned on the bathroom light and looked in the mirror. It wasn’t my eyes looking back at me.

I saw my fathers eyes in the mirror looking back at me, clear as day. Sure it was my face, but it was his eyes. Not the eyes of my dad in the months before he died, but the eyes of the man I remember from 20 years ago. Still blue, but bloodshot and wrinkled in the corners, a bit of a permanent sun burn, and tired.

There is a picture of my grandfather (mom’s dad) when he was still in the army, but after he came back from Korea. He was around 21, in uniform, and sitting on some grass looking up at the camera. I first saw this picture when I was about the same age as he was in that picture. We looked just alike, scarily so. My cousin looked at the picture, looked at me, and said “You could have been twins!” Scary, especially as you know if you read my blog, my mom says that him and I are very much alike. However, as much as I may look like my grandfather, act like my grandfather, and in many ways think like him, the eyes staring back at me in the mirror are not his.

They are my fathers.

Categories: Family, Father, Grandfather | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Birthday

Today is my birthday, I am 34 years old. I don’t really know where the last ten or so years have gone, they are very much a blur. I know much of my early through mid twenties was spent in a haze of drinking my way through nights and spending my days working for peanuts. Mid to late twenties was getting myself together and going back to school, getting my heart broke, starting a job that has become my career (at least currently), moving out of my codependent mothers apartment, and just being me without someone there trying to tell me how to think and feel. Late twenties to early thirties was becoming more established in my career, reconnecting with old friends, losing old friends, getting my heart broke again, and then finding the woman and girls who would become my wife, daughters, and the loves of my life. I gained 20lbs, lost my dad, gained ten more pounds, and then got married.

My life has been easier than many other peoples in this world, but I know people that tell me I had to grow up way to fast and that I had it hard. All I know is that the preceding 34 years made me who I am as I sit here, killing time at work, writing this, and wanting to go home to my family. All in all, the 30’s have probably been the best part of my life so far.

Maybe it just gets better from here?

Categories: Family, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The only one….

Some days I seem to be the only person at work and in my family.

There is a saying in Government that goes something along the lines “Those that work get the work, those that don’t still get raises.” Basically in Government jobs, if you work your butt off and do a great job, you still get the same pay raise as the man or woman that can’t do their job. If you demonstrate you can work and work well, your boss will probably give you all the work, all the projects, etc. While the coworkers that don’t work, can’t work, or just screw up the work, they get very little to do. Again, everyone gets the same pay raise. At least in the GS pay system. Their are other Government pay systems out their, but I am unfamiliar with them.

At work, I get the majority of the work. My customers for Safety are two of the three largest and most technical departments on the base, encompassing chemistry labs, physics labs, optics labs, energetics labs, large machine shops, etc. Not to mention a handful of other departments. I also run the confined space program for the base, the traffic safety program, blood borne pathogen program, assist with the fall protection program, energy control (lock out/tag out) program and respirator program. Though I do more to run the respirator program than assist with it.

With all of this I am also the Non Ionizing Radiation point of contact for our command, backup for my supervisor in the Emergency Operations Center, on the Chemical Hygiene Plan board, and more.

My supervisor is a great manager. I think she took all this in to account when she selected me for a promotion a few months ago and made me her Deputy. Still, when you are the only person that people can go to for all of these things, it can get overwhelming. I am the only person in the office that can do a lot of the things above and I can’t be in two places at once. If I make the wrong call or manage my time improperly, I can end up holding up a multi million dollar test. That has only happened once so far. Worse, if I make a bad decision in regards to certain deficiencies or programs (i.e. confined space or respirator), I can kill someone.

Family wise, I am the only person that my mom has. My mom is emotionally a wreck at most times, has a stress disorder, bad coping skills, very low self esteem, a stressful job that barely lets her make ends meet, can’t make friends very well and a love life that is a couple deaths short of a Greek tragedy. I am the only person she has to talk to, help her out with things, etc.

Right now she is being evicted from her apartment and has been looking for a place to live. A veteran used a VA loan to buy the duplex that she has lived in for 10 years. As VA loans make you live in the place you buy (I think for a year), and the other apartment is on a new lease, my mom is being evicted out of hers.

She has only been working for about 11 years and that came at the end of a divorce to a bad man. She doesn’t make much money, doesn’t have much of a savings and is now forced to either rent a crappy apartment (there are not many nice rentals in this town) or buy a small house. She has chosen the latter and is buying a small house in a bad neighborhood. Most of the house was renovated, but it still needs work. Of course, I am the only person she has that can help her do this work, help her move, etc.

I am basically the only person my grandparents have too. They live an hour away and I go down their often to help them, probably not as often as I should though.

My fiancée is a different story. She is really the only person I have that I can ask for help as everyone else either lives too far away, is not in a position to help me with anything, or is the one always asking me for help. Though I am reluctant to ask her for help; instead just drawing strength from being with her and having her and the kids in my life. She gets mad at me for this and chews me out for not asking her to help lighten my load. I guess I just became used to doing everything on my own, helping and supporting everyone else. I don’t really know how to ask for myself. Besides, she works swing shifts and graveyards, has two kids, and is going to school full time. She is Superwoman for pulling all of that off! Her strength is one of the many things I love about her and I know she would be strong enough to handle anything I ask of her too. However, when she is already facing so much on a daily basis, how can I ask her for help?

By the way, Jen, if you are reading this. I love you and thank you for everything you do for me. I’ll see you tonight 🙂

Last week an old friend and his wife came in from out of town. As his wife and my fiancée were inside Dennys, getting to know one another, we were outside so he could smoke. He looked at me and said “You used to be the laid back one out of the group. Now you are wound really tight and kind of angry and cold. What happened? I’m worried about you.”

My fiancée agreed with him when I told her about his concern.

A few weeks ago, at the end of the work day, my supervisor came in my office, sat down, looked at me and said “I’m worried about you. You are always doing everything for everyone else, taking care of everyone else. I can see it in your eyes. You need to take some time for yourself and start focusing on yourself more.”

At that point my office phone rang, I was needed for an emergency mishap. I ended up working an hour and a half over that night, almost missing a dinner date with my fiancée and the girls.

Categories: Family, Friends, General, Life, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grandpa stories part 1, family stories.

I’ve been visiting my grandparents more recently as they are not only getting older (86 & 85), but they are starting to have health issues. My grandmother was recently diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, and my grandfather is heading that way too. He was also diagnosed as borderline diabetic and told to go on a diabetic diet. He politely informed the doctor that he is 86 years old and that he would cut out the sweets (of which he doesn’t eat a whole lot anyway), but that he would NOT be altering his diet any further.

Realizing that they probably don’t have a whole lot of years left, I’ve decided to record as many of my grandfather’s stories as I can get down. I didn’t do this with my father and I regret it, so I won’t make that mistake with my grandfather. He is full of stories, many of them he tells over and over in true elderly person fashion. Many of them are entertaining, some are sad, most give you a glimpse in to a world long gone.

This will be just the first in a series.

My great great grandparents:

My grandfather tells a couple of stories about his grandparents, and his great grandfather. His great grandfather came home from the Civil War on the back of a mule, was helped in to bed by his family and never again left that bed. He died there some days or weeks later. Before he died he told his son (William, my grandfather’s grandfather, and the man my grandfather was named after), who was maybe a teenager, that he was now the man of the house and would have to take care of the farm and the family. William worked the farm and took care of his mom and his siblings until some unspecified time in which he had a family of his own in Texas. From what my grandfather says, he worked his hands to the bone for his mom and siblings and later for his wife and kids.

My great grandfather could remember that one night, when he was a young child, his father William was pacing back and forth in the little house carrying his infant daughter, who was sick. William’s wife Hattie was sitting in a rocking chair either sewing or knitting. William was trying to soothe the baby to sleep, and walking back and forth for some time. My great grandfather remembered that William stopped and checked his daughter because she had stopped fussing in his arms and when he checked her, this exchange took place:

William: “Hattie.”

Hattie: “Yes?”

William: “The baby is dead.”

Hattie: “Oh?”

And that was about the extent of it. The baby was buried in the yard the next morning.

My great grandfather and his brothers:

My great grandfather’s name was Beverly Carradine  Heath, back then Beverly was a unisex name. My grandfather used to never talk about his dad much, but he has been more in recent years. He describes his father as a “rawboned” man, about 6’1”, strong, stern, hard worker, never smiling, never laughing, rarely talking, instead preferring to let his actions speak for him, with the fastest reflexes he has ever witnessed in a human being.

My grandfather said that when he was a young child prohibition had just ended, so this would be about 1933 or 1934. He was in a Ford (Judging by the year it was either a Model T or a Model A) with his father putting down the road, when they drove by a bar. Outside the bar was a small gathering of drunk men, and one thought it would be fun to run up to the car, jump on the running board, and punch my great grandfather in the face. My grandpa said that his father saw the punch coming and moved his head, so that the man’s fist only knocked the pipe out of my great grandfather’s mouth. My grandfather said that just as quick as anything, my great grandfather snapped his hand over, grabbed the thumb of the drunk, and bent it back. My grandfather said that the man screamed like a woman. My great grandfather, without even looking at the man told him something along the lines of “Now you behave, or I will tear it right off.” My great grandfather then putted down a few streets to the back of a police station where the drunk was arrested.

He said these same reflexes about knocked him out when he was seven years old. He was in the back of a car when they were moving from Cleveland to California. My grandfather doesn’t remember what he did, only that he misbehaved in the back of the car. Without saying anything my great grandfather whipped around, back handed my grandfather, and then went back to driving. My grandfather said that he saw stars and it almost knocked him out.

My grandfather describes his dad as an Artillery Captain to the day he died. My great grandfather was a Captain in the Army during World War One and stationed at Fort Patrick Henry (he thinks).  It was during this time that an Artillery Battery could not pass the tests that they needed to pass in order to be sent to Europe and fight. The Command was under the gun from Washington to get this Battery to perform. My great grandfather was put in charge to get them to shape up. He figured out that it was about six or so men that were purposefully instigating the Battery to fail so that they would not have to be sent to Europe. My great grandfather weeded these men out and then began to train the Battery like they had never been trained before. He had them going over trajectory tables, learning how to factor in wind, humidity and everything else that affects ballistics. He had them studying math and memorizing these tables seven days a week in the beginning, until someone complained to the Inspector General. The IG informed my great grandfather that he had to legally give them Sunday off.

This angered my great grandfather. To make up for the Sunday loss, he had the Battery train night and day the other six days a week and the men were confined to the base until the Battery was able to pass the proficiency test. Evidently my great grandfather received a lot of anonymous death threats during this period so he as well never left the base, spending all his off time in the Officers Club, until the Battery and the six men he had weeded out were all either sent overseas or to another base.

My grandfather said that he never actually held a conversation with his dad until he was about 22, so some of the things he had to learn about from one of his uncles. Uncle Lally.

My grandfather speaks of a few uncles, but the only one he ever really talks about is an uncle “Lally” his full name was Lallance Lloyd Heath. Lally was a short and stocky man that had trained as a boxer and was the contender of either the light-heavy weight championship of Texas or the middle weight. My grandfather can’t remember which one. Evidently Lally, like his brother, had a temper. However, Lally tried to hide it behind laughter and jokes. Some of these were basically abusive jokes, like making my grandfather eat grass, which Lally thought was hilarious.

My grandfather told a story in which his dad, his brother in law (my grandfather had two or three sisters and another brother), and Lally went in to a bar in Los Angeles. He never said the year, but this was probably in the 1940’s. The three men were at the bar drinking beer, when three very large Mexican men came in. The men were some sort of construction workers as evidenced by the cement dust all over their boots and bottom of their pants. They wanted to sit at the bar but there were only two bar stools left, so one of them men grabbed my grandfather’s brother in law and told him very forcefully to give up the stool. Lally put down his beer, stood up off the stool and walked over to my grandfather’s brother in law, put a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down on the stool. He then punched the large Mexican man in the face knocking him to the floor unconscious. He stepped over that man and punched the next man in the face also knocking him out. It was at this time the third man was running out the door. Lally, Beverly, and the brother in law quickly finished their beers and left.

During the ride home Lally made the men promise to not say anything to Lally’s wife, as he had promised her years before that he would no longer fight. My grandfather mentioned the story to Lally’s wife upon Lally’s death. Lally’s wife smiled at him and said the she had known all about it.

There were other aunts and uncles but he never really talks about them. Except for one which he described as a “Mountain Man.” He said that twice a year this uncle would kill a bear for the meet and fat. The meat was used in everything you would expect him to use the meat for. The fat was used for cooking, baking, etc. He said that the uncle would use it to bake pies the way people would normally use Crisco. Now, the real special part of this story is in how the uncle would kill the bear. He would shoot the bear at the base of the skull, somewhere just behind the ear, with a .22 Long Rifle! Now, if

you don’t know anything about guns or bears you probably don’t realize how dangerous and amazing this is. The man must have been one hell of a shot.

Speaking of bears, my great grandfather once punched and kicked a bear in the butt during a camping trip to Yosemite back in the late 1930’s. As my grandfather tells it, the family was all in a large umbrella tent for the night when a bear came in to the camp looking for food. At some point the bear backed in to the tent wall where my great grandfather was sleeping, annoying my great grandfather, so he punched the bear in the butt. The bear grunted and moved a couple steps, then again backed in to the tent. This time my great grandfather, without saying a word, began to repeatedly kick the bear in its butt. The bear ran away.

Now, before you judge these men too harshly for some of these stories you have to realize the time of the world it was and where they came from. These were men that grew up in the pan handle of Texas in the late 1800’s, conditions were rough and life was cheap.  My great grandfather had to hide behind the front door with a loaded gun when the Apache Indian braves would ride up demanding food from his mother, under threats of violence. She always gave them food and they always behaved.

It was out of this life that my great grandfather became an Army Artillery Captain with an amazing aptitude for math, a Mechanical Engineer, a Chemical Engineer, a Lawyer that was nominated to the Ohio Supreme Court and a self-taught machinist. As I said before; hard working.

Next time: Childhood stories.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

My Family and Me

When I signed up for WordPress I was supposed to give an introduction and tell a little bit about me, and I responded to that by basically saying “No.” Well I was challenged today to talk about my life, and my family. So, I figured I would put it on here, so here I go.

I can’t talk about me without giving you a little back story on my family, you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you came from. I’ll actually start at my maternal great grandfather. He grew up on the panhandle of Texas, and would have to hide behind the door with a shotgun when the Apache Indians would ride up and demand food from his mother. This guy was brilliant, he had a law degree, a chemical engineering degree, a mechanical engineering degree, and was an Army Officer and artillery instructor in World War One. He was asked to be a part of the Idaho Supreme Court, moved to California during the Great Depression (South gate area), and practiced law there, as well as doing some other things. He eventually moved up to what is now Edwards AFB, worked in a machine shop, and built houses in Boron. He was a very cold and stubborn man, detached father. My Grandfather had very little love for his father and never learned to be a dad. I do not know much about my great grandmother. 

My grandpa was in the Korean war, went through hell, and was tore up by, of all things, an artillery round. He raised two daughters, one became my mom. Both he and my grandma are good people, but really bad parents. My grandfather is also a insanely intelligent man, but does not recognize it. He thinks he is average, and everyone should be able to learn what he can, know what he knows, etc. If you don’t, then you are just stupid. Sadly, this is the attitude he took raising his daughters, and took with me when he tried to tutor me in math. 

My grandma is just cold, money grubbing, and a liar. She has her good points, but she should have never been a mother. She doesn’t like kids, never wanted kids, and admitted to my mom that she tried to lose her. 

They moved from the LA area to North Edwards, just out side of Edwards AFB, when my mom was three. My grandpa got a job on the Air Force Base, and they lived in a house that my great grandfather had built.They were cold, hard, and harsh parents. They didn’t raise my mom and my aunt to be self sufficient, they raised them to be housewives. My mom barely made it through school and married young to get away from them, ended up in a bad marriage, and then later had to leave. She basically became homeless because my grandparents wouldn’t take her back in. She was working as a waitress in Whites restaurant and bar in Mojave when she met my dad. My dad was a regular in the bar. They dated for a short time, and then were married. 

My dad is 18 years older than my mom, was raised by two Jehovah Witnesses that bounced back and forth across the country. His dad was a musician, and so my dad spent most of his life moving back and forth between Detroit and the Riverside/Highland area down by San Bernardino. Route 66 plays a big part in my family history. When he met my mom he was newly divorced from his crazy first wife, was paying child support on four kids (the oldest only ten years younger than my mom), working at a cement plant in Mojave, and was a raging alcoholic. 

Things were not the best, and quickly became worse. He was an abusive alcoholic that would spend his whole paycheck in the bar, beat the shit out of her, throw plates of food against the wall, etc. They were already separated when my mom found out she was pregnant with me. I have more stories, but they are bad. 

My mom worked pregnant as a waitress until she could no longer physically work any more. Shortly thereafter I was born, and shortly after that we moved in to a house in Boron that my great grandfather had built, and that my grandparents owned. 

Now, we did not live there rent free. My mom ended up on welfare, food stamps, and after a few years was able to get child support from my dad. This all totaled to about 600.00 a month, half of that was rent to my grandparents. Now, Boron does not have any job opportunities. The only real employer is the Borax Mine, and that does not employ a whole lot of people these days. When I was about six she had a chance to get a job there and get off of welfare. She asked my grandparents to babysit me while she worked, my grandma look at her and said “I raised my kids, you raise yours.” Boron does not have any day cares, after school programs, or anything at all of that nature. My mom was forced to choose between working, or raising her son, she chose to stay home and raise me. She did briefly get a part time job later on to try and save up some money, however welfare made her claim that money and took it out of her check. I have a whole rant about the welfare system I will post later. 

My mom was a very loving, but strict and over protective parent. I hardly saw my dad until about 5th grade, and didn’t see my grandparents much until about that same time (even though they only lived 15 miles away). We received little to no help from anyone else. 

When I was in 9th grade, my mom had to call the Kern County Sherriff’s department on her abusive ex boyfriend. She ended up marrying the deputy that responded to her call, on the first day of school of my 10th grade year. He moved us in to his house here in Ridgecrest, and became very mentally and physically abusive. The week before my 18th birthday, which was just a couple weeks away from high school graduation, he was arrested for physically abusing her. However, all charges were dropped and he kept his job as a Sherriff. 

I grew up very poor but mostly happy until high school, Just prior to Jr. High I started becoming close to my grandpa. He taught me to camp, shoot, drive, some back packing, map and compass, carpentry, etc. He became more of a dad than my actual dad. Not so close to my grandma. Around the same time, my dad and I formed a friendship, He also taought me how to drive, and after high school he taught me how to work on cars.

in high school I had to deal with my step dad, a new school full of unfriendly people, a mom that was going through a slow mental breakdown, and no freedom. I had no car, no money, and only one friend; djmatticus. I looked in to joining the military after high school, but I had tore the cartilage in my right knee up in a wrestling tournament, and also have Mitral Valve Prolapse. The military would not take me. After high school I ended up with my step dads 1987 Bronco  II, which is one of the reasons my dad taught me how to work on cars. This and a few part time jobs, or working for my dad, gave me gas money and helped pay for the Junior College I was going to. While doing that, I had to take care of my mom and her continuously worsening mental condition because of my step dad. 

I had a chance to go to college in San Diego after I received my AA, I even lined up a job. However, I was afraid to leave my mom alone with my step dad. He was getting worse, and so was she. She ended up having an affair, it broke her heart when it ended, but inspired her to get some job training, get a job, and leave my step dad. When we finally moved out I was working for minimum wage at a daycare that is located on the local military base, spending a lot of time partying, and blowing my money. I had one bad night in a bar when I was 24. It made me realize I was 24, living in an apartment with my crazy mom, no career, a worthless AA degree, and had to do something with my life. I took out some student loans, and went to school at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, World Wide Campus. I took classes on line and on the local military base where I was working.

I ended up graduating Cum Laude with my B.S. in Technical Management with an OSHA specialty, and with a Security and Intelligence minor. I shortly thereafter found a job with the bases Safety Office. I was still living with my mom at this point, as I had been taking car of her and she was letting me live there rent free while I went to school. After getting the job with the Safety Office my student loans kicked in, so I lived with my mom until I got a promotion kicked in, at which point I moved out in to the little apartment I am in now. I don’t make much money, but I can pay my student loan payments, and my car payment. 

My mom is better than she used to be, but is really not totally self sufficient. When I was in high school she began relying on me to get the littlest things done, and it only got worse as time went on. By the time I moved out, she was the child and I was the parent. Over the last couple of years she has learned to be a bit more normal. She doesn’t make much money and has virtually no retirement. She will either work herself to death, or just work until she is no longer able, at which point I will probably have to take care of her again. 

My dad is 74, and showing it. He had a stroke when I was 18, you can see it in him now. We have breakfast most every Sunday. 

My grandma wonders why I don’t call her grandma. She did learned how to hug me, kiss me on the cheek, and tell me she loved me though. So maybe I can learn to think of her as grandma.

My grandpa is now 84, and has mellowed out a lot. Him and I are very close and I am one of the few people that can really get along with him. he told me he was proud of me about six months ago, that meant the world to me.
My mom says I am just like him.

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