Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014: a return to what matters on this site ...

"I came across a fallen tree.
I felt the branches of it
Looking at me.

Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place
That I've been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing!
Where have you gone?
I'm getting old,
And I need something to rely on.

So tell me when,
You're gonna let me in --
I'm getting tired,
And I need somewhere to begin.

And if you have a minute?
Why don't we go,
Talk about it
Somewhere only we know?

This could be the end of everything!
So why don't we go,
Somewhere only we know?

Somewhere only we know ..."

"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane, my favorite song of all time ... for a damned good reason(s).


Let me open 2014 on this site, by apologizing for 2013.

I didn’t write nearly as often, or as much, as I wanted to.  And to be honest, the things I felt most motivated to write about, came down to one of two choices way too many times: the Chiefs season, and how God-awful my 2013 was personally and professionally.

And so, let me say, to truly open this site’s (holy cow, I never saw this number coming) seventh – seventh! – year of existence … that I strive to do better.

If you scroll down the right side to where the prior posts are by year, you’ll notice a three year pattern repeating itself.  Huge posting year … moderate posting year … indefensibly small posting year.  Which means we’re due for an uptick this year.

There are still a few posts from 2013 I want to get up.  “The Annual Column” hasn’t gone up yet, and it’s January 16th.  That thing is tradition – it goes up Christmas night at the latest.  And yet, I haven’t even finished it yet.  Part of that is real life issues – there is no one who would want my job right now.  It’s probably the only reason I still have it.  I literally have not had two straight non-weekend, non-holiday days not at least checking email and/or answering various queries, since June 2012.  I’m burned out, I’m exhausted, and quite frankly, it takes every last ounce of energy I have (which isn’t much) to simply get out of bed in the morning, and put in another ten to twelve hour day, at a job in which my department head and I can’t stand each other, my current direct report boss* is caught in the middle of that disagreement, and it’s probably going to end horribly in about five months, when a cheaper, newer replacement for me can be brought up to speed.

But mostly, there’s some conflicted feelings over things and people from 2013, I can’t work through, to get the damned post finalized. 

I hope to do that soon. 

I hate that I can’t promise that will happen.


(*: I feel bad for Kathy.  She didn't ask for this.  God knows I didn't either ... but she really didn't.  My department head and I, have never gotten along, going back pushing ten years at "former Stevo employer".  When we're cracking "gallows humor" that "well, at least Mary or Leif isn't here!"?  That is NOT a good thing.  Trust me.  (cue everyone who worked with me at "former employer", nodding their head in agreement.

At the same time ... no matter how much crap has been thrown in her lap, she's had my back.  (Probably because she knows a bullsh*tter from 300 miles away (and everyone who worked with me at "former employer", is absolutely nodding their head in agreement.)


I hope to finally swallow hard, pour a glass of shiraz so big the “Cougar Town” folks would be jealous, and finally recap the Colts / Chiefs playoff game.  It deserves to be recapped.  I gave myself that game as my birthday present to me, and those of you who know me well, know I hate celebrating my birthday.  I usually have to be drug kicking and screaming to the Brooksider, or Quinton’s, or (insert bar here) for a couple hours of free booze.  Let that sink in – I hate turning a year older so much, I want to turn down someone paying my bar tab!  And my bar tab most nights is at least equal to the GDP of an Eastern European or South American nation. 

There’s so many other things I wanted to do, but never got the chance to, last year.

I hope to get to them this year. 

I hate that I can’t promise, I’ll do it.

2014 is a ten year anniversary of a lot of wrong.  I personally am praying the Chiefs do not play at home on October 5th.  I honestly don’t think I can take that emotionally.  (In case you want a glimpse into my previous “worst year ever”, you can click here for the recap of The Year That Was 2004.)

But there’s nothing that says 2014, has to repeat ten years ago.

And there sure as all hell, isn’t anything that says, 2014 … has to repeat last year.

I promise to try to do better in 2014 – in posting, in being around, in being not just a read for you in the “second office”, but in being a friend. 

In just being me.  (minister saying words I never anticipate repeating voice) “For richer or poorer; in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

I think I’ve lost that over the last brutal twelve (ok, fine, eighteen) months of my life. 

I hope you all know – you read this, either by drunken happenstance, or the Twitter, uuh, tweet, or a Facebook link, or a "what are the (bleeping!) odds coincidence that I don't believe exist?  

Thanks for reading.

You have an issue with me?  Approach me.  I get the ability to be brutal honesty in where you stand with me, from my mom.  And I get an amazing ability to forgive the unforgivable, from my dad.  (Flip a coin for who my brother and I get our brutally amazing ability to drink from.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Good point -- maybe my Uncle Bill should be in this poll.) 

If you like a post?  Please, post a comment, and say so.  You hate a post?  Trash it.  I don’t censor comments on this site; what you respond with, stands for time to judge. 

You have an idea, an interesting story, something you’d love my take on?  Reach out to me.  I’m on Facebook.  My email is linked in my profile at the top (note: the ten digits before the @ sign also works for, if you want a faster response), and remove everything after the @ sign on the email, and that’s my Twitter handle. 


I don’t know why I feel this way, but … you know what?  I’ll let you in on a little mom / son bonding moment.

I stayed at my folks place the night before Thanksgiving.  (I dog sat for my brother Thanksgiving night).  Those of you who know me well, know my dad’s health isn’t great.  We lost him twice on October 6th.  We miraculously, through the grace and incredible decency of God Himself, still have him. 

That Thanksgiving morning, my mom and I put the tree up.  I should probably note, this is something my dad does every year.  Just like me, my dad loves Christmas like no other holiday.

But Dad just wasn’t up to it, barely six weeks after his issues.  So Mom and I got up early, to get everything ready for when dad and the dog finally stumbled down the stairs, probably pushing 11am.

We started a little after eight.  Mom jokingly asked if I wanted a beer for the occasion.  Good grief.  Beer at 8am?  No thank you.  A glass of shiraz?  Pour that puppy!

And what followed … was my favorite day of 2013.  The one day, possibly the only one, I’ll look back 40 years from now, and think favorably about, from last year.

Because we got into the ornaments.


And as I would suspect of many of you, my folks bought an ornament to celebrate every year of my brother and I’d childhood.  Mom actually choked up a bit at seeing “Steve 1977”, my first Christmas.  (Probably because the ornament looked as cheap and tacky and tasteless as the shag carpeting and plaid couch looked, in the pictures from my first Christmas.  I’m telling you all, the next time I dog-sit for the folks, I’m stealing my baby book.  You’re going to laugh out loud at what “the style of the time” was in 1977.  Also, you’re gonna say “aw, that’s THE cutest baby ever!”, and have tears running down your cheeks, at how ridiculously handsome I was, even at the age of nearly a year.)

My mom and I spent almost three hours, reliving every Christmas of our family.  I didn’t really remember much before the early 80s … but the ornaments were there.  Quite frankly, I was stunned – stunned! – there wasn’t a Lionel Richie “Steve 1984” ornament.  (His biggest year: “Dancing on the Ceiling”, “All Night Long”, and the Olympics Closing Ceremony.  Now THAT’S a trifecta!)


And that's probably why Keane's amazing song, is my favorite song of all time.  I'm not a well-read blogger (and deservedly so; I have so many typos in every post, I wouldn't last five weeks writing about some Pee Wee League in some random town in unincorporated Montana).  I am too brutally honest at times, and I've been told I take things too personally (both "accusations" are true, for what it's worth.)

That song hit me in ways this year, I never saw coming, for the "post" that led at least a few of you, to frequent this site.


I guess I choose to open 2014 by saying this:

There is always a "Somewhere Only We Know", for every person reading this.

It may be with me.  And I hope it is; if you care enough to read this?  Then you matter to me.

But (hopefully) the odds are?  

This isn't your "Somewhere Only We Know".

Because you have that place, with at least one person in life.  To which I say ...


Embrace that "somewhere".  Hug the hell out of that "someone".  

Cherish 'em.  Own 'em.

And love the hell out of them.

Your "Somewhere Only YOU Know".


Because about 10:30 that Thanksgiving morning, my dad and the family dog wandered down the stairs, saw me and my mom arguing over what should top the Official Family Tree -- the traditional angel my mom preferred, or the Chiefs mini-helmet I argued for ...

... and my mom and I both said, at virtually the same time, "let (my) Dad decide".


You're damned right that helmet sat at the top of the tree.


I honestly believe 2014 will be the best year of my life.

I have no reason grounded to reality or common sense, to say why.  I just feel it.

Call me a dreamer, say I'm a little naive ... but I believe friendships (stewie griffin voice) roo-eened in 2013?  Get fixed in 2014.

I believe hurt and pain and injury caused in 2013?  Cease to exist in 2014.

I just have a (probably) stupid blind-ass faith in this year, I shouldn't have.  But I do.  I think 2014 is going to be the best year of my life.

I think, in hindsight, I tried to force it in 2013.  I forced that interview in Dallas that blew up in my face.  I forced the "yeah, I can handle this" incompetence I'm under fire for at work right now (which my amazing boss, keeps finding ways to explain ... if only because she gets the reality that "you can't go from 3 to 1 person, and not have sh*t happen".  

I'm just gonna roll with the punches in 2014.  

I hope you're along for the ride ... wherever it takes me ...

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