Vacation is Coming

suitcase

 

In three weeks, I will finally be going on a vacation. I know what you are saying: “George, you work two jobs, how can you swing a whole week off?”

The answer is easy: just don’t give a shit.

I need some time to myself. Some time to re-evaluate my little life. Been so wrapped up in making money and taking care of family business that I have completely lost touch with what I really want. I’m not one to avoid introspection, but for some reason, despite my best efforts, I have lost touch with the things that matter to me.

I know the biggest reason for this is my work schedule. For those who don’t know, allow me to explain.

Since September 2008, I have had two jobs. My full time job is with a car dealership. I work there from 45-65 hours a week. They provide full healthcare, 401k, dental, etc. The job is very stable despite the climate out there in the car business. I may bitch about this job alot. I may complain about my co-workers and their lack of interest in anything other than sports and naked women, but it’s a good job. I’m the lynch-pin of the dealership and I love that responsibility. I don’t think I get recognized enough for what I do here, but that is a subject for another blog.

Since September, I joined up at a call center. The original plan was to have this job part time to help offset the cost of oil for the winter since it was looking very scary. Then oil went way down….and thats when I made the mistake of looking at my 401k. Just like everybody else out there, I was seeing diminishing returns. So my friends talked me into joining them at this call center. The calls come in, you take the call, fill out the order, upsell what you can and thats it. Easy right? Easy, but nerve racking. The problem with the part time is I am required to do 20 hours a week there to maintain my part time status.

So lets do the math: on a slow week, I am doing a minimum of 65 hours and on a busy week, I’m doing 85.  Thats eighty five hours of work that leaves very little time for a social life, working out or even vital little things…like sleeping!  Let’s not even get started on spare time to work on a painting, go hiking. The best I can do is a nice long drive along the coast between shifts….

I have been justifying this self torture for one reason: I’m not seeing anyone. Since I’m not dating, might as well make as much money as possible. The rebuttal to my position is: “Well, if you didn’t work so much, maybe you WOULD meet someone.” It’s a never ending cycle. I’ve also come to realize that my position, working my ass off because I have nobody in my life, is the passive position. And if I keep taking this position, a non participatory role in my own dating life, crap like what just happened to me will keep happening and I’ll forever be heartbroken and miserable.

Oh, thats right….I never told you about the last month and half of stupidity that re-entered my life. I guess I never wrote about it because I felt like I had been used. Another redhead pulled the wool over my eyes. Thats not exactly true. She didn’t pull the wool over my eyes so much as I did it myself. Just wanted to believe everything she said was true. But no, it was a lie, just like before. Oh yeah, there was a before to this story too, which is why I should have seen how it would all end. But sadly, my heart dove in face first and ran merrily away without me. Now he’s broken, shattered really. And no, I won’t go into detail. Would rather keep it vague and not name names.

But if I didn’t work so much, if I had some kind of a life, maybe I could have seen her coming a mile away and told her to go to hell like I should have rather than going along with things simply out of conveniance. And conveniance is never a reason to start a relationship with someone.

So thats why I need this vacation. I need it so I can step outside of myself and my life. I need new priorities and new objectives. And most of all, need a new plan for my little life. I need to be a better friend to those who care about me. I need to be true to myself and stop compromising so much of my life. And I need to make myself available, so when she finally does walk into my life, I won’t be so busy that I hardly notice her and miss the chance of a lifetime.

Vacation is coming and with it comes a lot of change. I think I’m ready.

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Another Interview, Another Challenge

Trisha asked and I answered the call! And I really have to thank her because I needed something to write about and I am in a rut….

1. You’ve been chosen as a contestant on Survivor Devil Island. What skills would you bring to the island to help your team and then ultimately yourself?
scan0022 As you can see by this example, I’m more than adept at building houses out of available materials…
Ok, actually, this a “Fairy House” I came across on my first trip to Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. And it’s made from twigs, bark and moss and not mighty branches and logs from the massive trees in the woods…and yeah, did I mention I didn’t actually build it? Yeah, so I really have nothing to offer when it come to survival in the wilderness.  Besides watching “SurvivorMan” or “Man VS Wild”, I have no experience with surviving in the wilderness without basic camping gear. Give me a tent, some cooking gear and maybe a gun, and I might make it 24 hours….So I think the first camp council on my season of Survivor would involve the rest of my tribe voting off my sunburnt (yeah, the native american genes did not involve my pigmentation at all!) and crying ass.
2. You’ve just won $28,000,000. in Powerball! What will you do with all that money?
66-5So after everyone in my family has been taken care of…and after I’ve quit my job…and after I’ve moved in to my new seaside villa…and after I’ve whipped myself into shape with my 24 hour on call personal trainer…and after I’ve taken care of my good friends needs…and after I’ve bought my friends bands new gear and funded their next album…and after I’ve set up a scholarship foundation for underprivileged art majors…after ALL of that, I would load up the car and fullfill a lifelong dream. I would drive out to Chicago and find Old Route 66 and drive cross country. I have a fascination with all the old kitschy stuff that cropped up along this once major highway that runs from Chicago all the way to Santa Monica. One of the purest joys in my life has always been just hopping my car and just driving and seeing all the old Americana, being able to experince a truly “American” experience (the fabled love affair with the automobile and all the road side attractions that helped build) and maybe writing a book about my experience or at the very least, do some photography and painting along the way. One thing I would have to add to this experience would be stopping along the way and visiting with the many amazing people I’ve met online over the years. 🙂
Then after all that, I would open up the restaurant I mentioned in my last post and hopefully somewhere in my travels, I would have met the woman of my dreams. But thats a post for another time…
3. Giada DeLaurentis asks you to audition for her show. What dish would you prepare for her and give us the recipe , please!
giadaI have to admit, the idea of being featured on a cooking show would definitely intrigue me. Whenever I cook for my friends, I have this tendency to talk out loud about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, how long something takes to cook and how to properly dice something. Aparently, this is an unconscious habit that I do even when I’m alone. Ok, I know that sounds like I’m a little nutty, talking to myself while I cook, but you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t enjoy some of my eccentricities. 🙂
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that Giada would ask me to audition for anything, but lets say she wanted me on to feature a recipe from my restaurant (you know, the one I would open after I win Powerball…) so I’m thinking I would have to make something slightly italian so I would probably make a cold cut and italian sausage omellette.
4 eggs beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsely
a sampling of italian deli meats chopped roughly equalling about 1/2 lb : prosciutto, mortadella, capicola are some good examples.
1/4 lb diced pancetta, pan seared
2 italian spicy sausages, grilled and chopped
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
2 roma tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped roughly
roasted red pepper, chopped
one cup mozzarella
1/4 fresh parmesan, roughly grated
salt
pepper
basil
oregano
juice of one lemon
In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the milk and whisk to combine. Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste. In a large non stick pan, grill the onions till they start to carmelize and combine with the green and red peppers, garlic, pancetta and sausage.
On a large flat skillet that has been either buttered or at least had some non stick spray applied to it, pour on the egg mixture. Make sure the skillet is piping hot before tossing the egg on there. From here, this all comes together rather quickly. I’m a big fan of the tri-fold method of omellette making so the egg spreads out thin across the skillet, giving you a rather large middle area to combine your ingrediants. As the egg starts to firm up, put down a handfull of mozzarella and then layer on the deli meat followed by the pancetta/sausage/veggie mixture. Squeeze on top a little juice from a lemon, add another handfull of cheese and fold together the omellette. Remove the pan from the heat, layer the sliced tomatos across the top of the omellette, then smother with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Then take entire pan and set in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to further melt the cheese and fuse the flavors. After the cheese has melted and appears golden brown, remove from oven, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with your favorite hash or a mixed green salad.
4. If you could make a home for yourself anywhere on the planet where would you live permanently? Can you describe your home in detail? Money is, of course, no object.
scan0007scan0047scan0012Monhegan Island would be somewhere near the top of my list. I loved this place from the first moment I set foot on the island.  I wrote about my first experience there here, here, here and here. That one experince made me a fan. Sadly, I’ve only been back there twice since and only on the same kind of day trips. Eventually, when I get the free time, I plan on spending alot more time there. It has long been a refuge for artists, the Wyeth family had a home there, Hopper painted here and countless other artists have immortalized this tiny little slice of heaven.  Isolated as it is in the Gulf of Maine, it would take alot of committment to want to live there year round. A healthy love of all things seafood and a stronger set of sea legs would be a start. But the idea of living and breathing art for the rest of my life? Yeah, thats pretty tempting….And if I had a house on the island, I would want an ocean view (not hard to do on an island) with a large studio space custom built with huge bay windows facing the ocean. All the rest would be details, but a massive kitchen to cook and entertain in and of course my own mini  movie theater. 🙂
5. You’re dissatisfied with the work you do. If you could do only one thing for the rest of your life what would you do?
sirsy7joey-sarah-and-lourdsI think I would be the happiest man in the world if I could help my friends in Sirsy and Lourds. I would love nothing better than doing photography and and promotional work for them and helping in some small way. And I would definitely do this on breaks from living on Monhegan Island. 🙂
So heres the rules again in case you forgot already:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Vacation!!!

Four years is definitely way way too long…..
I haven’t had the opportunity to get away in a very long time. I have had no time to decompress, let go of all my anxieties and just relax and be me for a few days. The option of a vacation was denied to me at every turn: salesmanager quit, we need you here every single day for the next two months, salesmanager gets fired and we need you here every day until we find a replacement or the general manager has fallen ill and we need you here every day since the new sales manager isn’t confident enough to run the place on his own.
Ok, that last one was nobody’s fault and thankfully, the general manager recovered and is feeling better than ever. But, at every turn, something has come up. Three years ago, I convinced myself I needed to work as much as possible to try to forget the ex and the three years I wasted with her. So I worked, non-stop and work was happy to take advantage of this martyrdom. Then someone figured out that even though I was doing this to myself, I was definitely in violation of a few labor laws. So they cut back my hours. Suddenly I found myself with time off. And what did I do? I filled all that time off with new projects: supporting bands, doing photography and starting this new adventure here, writing the thoughts that crossed my tiny mind.
And then oil hit $140 a barrel. In a panic, I sought out a second part time job.
So now, working at my main job about 50 hours a week, working part time at the new job for 20 hours a week and on top of that, still working with bands and friends, still doing photography and trying my best to express myself on here. Something was going to snap.
A few weeks ago, I had a bad day. After several days of no sleep, a customer came in and teed off at me about a mistake on their paperwork. A mistake made 7 months ago that they are just now noticing and after calmly explaining to them that there was nothing I could at this point, they proceeded to call me an idiot and I lost my shit on them!We ended up in a yelling match at my desk that ended when my manager came down, took my side and told the customer to get out for being rude and unproductive and to call him later on how the customer can go about fixing the problem on his own.
I sat down, rather embarassed. I never loose my patience like that, I never scream at people. The manager came back down to my desk with a piece of paper. A written warning to go in my file. My heart sank. I pride myself on my cool and being able to handle people, but this very public altercation was something management couldn’t ignore. He slid the piece of paper across the desk for me to sign, patted me on the shoulder as he got up.
“You were right, you know but being right doesn’t mean taking it that far with a customer” he said. “next time, just walk away”
I had forgotten that. Proving a point to someone who really doesn’t give a shit neither makes a point nor does it prove it. All I did was hurt myself.
After a few minutes at my desk, I heard a friends voice in the back of my head.
“Vacation! Vacation! Vacation!” She said.
I looked over my calendar. Maybe this is what I need, time away. Time to just do nothing. Looking over the month, I found January 1st. Good way to start the year off. I circled it on my calendar, filled out my request and the manager agreed that I needed it and it was a smart decision on my part to realize my limitations and how sometimes, you need to just be away.
So starting tomorrow, I will be gone from here.
No phone calls.
No titles.
No nothing.
Just me in my car….
I’m heading out to western New York to relax and just be for a few days. I have the honor of having the opportunity to hang with my good friend 2LazyDogs. I see wine and good food in my future as well as exquisite company and excellent conversation.Besides visitng the Lake Erie area, Niagara Falls is also on the agenda, a natural wonder I have never had the chance to see.
And on my ride home on Saturday night, stopping in Marcellus NY at a place called the Village Tavern to see my good friends Sirsy perform. If you are anywhere near there, I highly reccomend braving the winter chill and checking them out! New venue for them and they are hoping for a good turnout. (Shameless Plug)
So I have 4 days of driving, laughing and enjoying myself. Four days I really need. Four days. It won’t be long enough.

Doom or You THINK I would have noticed sooner….

Something was wrong. I’m not sure when I became aware of it, but yesterday, I felt out of sorts.

On my way to work, I drove right past the dealership and didn’t realize until I was all the way into downtown Portsmouth that I should have been at work. Quickly turning around, I accidentally ran a red light (no, I wasn’t distracted by a red head, that’s another blog) and narrowly avoided running into a UPS truck, parked out in the middle of the road instead of off to the side as they should be.

I had decided to wear my trenchcoat to work since it was light and the weather was absolutely beautiful outside. At almost 70 degrees, this was a gift of early spring weather. The windows were open and White Zombie’s “More Human Than Human” was thumping on the stereo. I felt good about myself, relaxed, almost optimistic. Several people I passed by honked their horns and waved. I didn’t recognize these people, but I smiled and waved anyway. So rare that someone is just waving to say hi or honking hello, usually the waving is of a middle finger and the honking means “FUCK OFF!”

I got to work and sat for a minute, letting the final beats of White Zombie finish up. I opened the door and saw what all the waving was about: the bottom half of my coat had been shut in the door. My nice black trenchcoat was caked with mud and soaking wet. Frustrated, I hung the coat up in my office and called the drycleaner to get a price on a cleaning.

The next few hours, nothing went right. From printing the wrong forms to being tossed 15 projects all at once and being told they all needed to be done “Now-ish”, nothing seemed to be going right. I take all the pictures of out inventory for the various websites we report to and yesterday, it was truck photo day. I lined up a bunch of trucks and managed to get through 5 of them before disaster struck.

As I attempted to leap into the last truck, my right foot slipped on the running board sending me careening backwards into the door which, like a springloaded trap, swung out and rebounded , smacking me in the back of the head. Falling to the ground in defeat, I just sat there laughing as a concerned coworker came running up to see if I was alright. That’s when it started to rain.

Back safely in my office, more minor mishaps were plaguing me. On several occasions, I forgot how to spell my own name and twice I assigned a title to the wrong person. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe my mood. I walked across the street to get a salad from McDonalds. After waiting in line behind the one person who was apparently unaware of what was on the menu at any McDonalds (I can only assume that she had crawled out of a bunker somewhere where her only contact with the outside world was a ham radio with no access to news or any entertainment of any kind for the past 60 years) I got up and ordered my Santa Fe salad thingy and made it back to my office. I ate a few bites from the top before digging deeper into the salad and discovering wilted, rotting lettuce at the bottom.

I ran back and got a new salad and even got a promise from the manager that the next one was free. As I walked out the front door of the McDonalds, I found the one, solitary piece of unmelted snow on the sidewalk. I felt my feet go out from under me. As I sprawled across the parking lot, I watched my salad, now free of its bag, launch into the air like some bizarre UFO and hit a parked car, spilling it’s contents all over the back window. The manager came running out to help me up. My clothes were now slightly soaked from the steady rain that had been falling. After retrieving my third salad, I went back to my office and prayed for 8pm to roll around. I just wanted to go home, nothing else, nothing fancy, no more surprises, just please, let me go home.

Eight o’clock came around and I darted to my car. Finally, I could end this day. But first, I had to stop off at Wal-Mart to get some necessities. Kitty litter was needed as well as bottled water and air freshener. As I walked up and down the long aisles, aimlessly searching for air freshener, the unthinkable happened: I got lost. No, seriously…I was lost. I had no idea which way was the exit and actually stood confused for about 20 minutes, trying to find my way out. It all went wrong when I wandered into the sporting good section looking for some new hiking gear. No sooner than I had spied the multi-tool that I wanted to buy than I made a wrong turn and found myself staring at the gun section. I didn’t think this was legal anymore, but there they were: bebe guns and various other rifles all on display in a glass case with nobody around to keep an eye on the potentially lethal merchandise. Boxes of ammo of all kinds from bebes to buck shot sat in small boxes behind the glass counter top. Next to the display were bows of all sizes and arrows of varying degrees of lethality.

In my mind, I pictured some deranged idiot wandering into the store unarmed and finding this little cubby hole of weaponry in the back corner of the store, arming themselves and proceeding to wreck lethal havoc on the other shoppers going about their normal shopping. Slightly unnerved by this lack of security, I turned around and….where the hell was I? Why can’t I see the exit?

I turned up one aisle thinking it was the right way. It looked promising, there were the dvds and there were the toys….then, I was stuck in the car department…what the hell? I backtracked again and found myself at that same counter. Had I wandered into a time warp? Determined to get out, I decided to cut diagonally across the store and despite some minor diversions (Hanes plain t shirts on sale!) I made it out.

Getting home was rather easy. No almost missed traffic accidents, no deer wandering into the road, no hailstorms. Collapsing into bed when I finally got home, one thought came across my mind: how in the hell did this day become so fucked up and confusing? A conflagration of factors had come together to just completely mess with me but what had started it all? What event had set in motion this perfect storm of oddities and accidents?

I kicked off my sneakers, stretching out my toes and feet, feeling the coolness of the air for the first time all day. I stood up and unbuckled my belt while I looked for my ‘house pants’ and I de-trousered myself, I looked down and there was the reason. There was the explanation. I knew something had to start the day off wrong and there was the proof. The one thing had set in motion the minor tragedies of my day:

I had put my underwear on backwards.