Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Janus goes back to school

Tomorrow's my first day, I'm a little excited and a little terrified.
I considered all my options and pondered over what course I would do first, since I wanted to start out slow (one class is about as slow as I can get.) Today Bella and I raced in with less than one day before the class began, and got me registered.
I am taking "Writers Group" (Intro level) where I will learn to write various kinds of fiction such as...Spy, Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Science Fiction, Horror and Action Adventure. I can learn some new tricks and learn how to publish.
Now that I read the description in my Summer Course Catalog to you, I can tell you that it will also get me 3 college credit hours towards a degree someday (Who knows what degree.) The Class is one day a week on my day off (Wednesday) from 10:00-2:00.
So after registering I had Bella show me around the campus a bit, so I knew how to find my classroom and knew where the important stuff was. The college is huge, and at least 3 times bigger than the one I went to about 6 years ago. Thank goodness she wanted to show me where to go and I have a map.
I am worried that I won't be able to do it as good as my heart wants me to and I am a little nervous about going back to school. This is what I want to do though, and I am glad to have the chance again. I was debating to take a Certified Nursing Assistant program or English and Writing, I decided to go with my heart and interest instead of what seemed just "practical." I didn't tell my family yet other than Bella because I couldn't endure an eye rolling even over the phone.
My sister thinks of writing as a big waste of time, and my brother is even worse about it. Ed would tell me to get a degree in banking and finance so I could make real money. I hate banking and finance though. So maybe I am impractical, but I think I would better off doing what I love even if I never became rich from it than to do something practical and be miserable for the rest of my life.
Mom always told me I should be a writer (well she also wants me to be a minister too) but I never really gave her too much credit for career advice since mom's have this bad habit of seeing things from a mom's eye view. (You know Mom has to think you are bright, handsome, and talented...it's a mom's job.)
A few folks that have read my blog though told me that I should go into writing, people that don't have the same last name as me and want to borrow money from me. So I decided, why not go for it. So keep you fingers crossed and say some prayers for me.

I'm going for it.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Really Silent Alarms...

Well I needed to put a conclusion on yesterdays rant, and I figured. Why not now.

CCC, the church I am attending is doing a series about Silent Alarms. Which is about things in our life that God wants me to pay attention to so we don't miss out on life.

This truthfully isn't about the series or the book, but it is about a very silent alarm.

I mentioned yesterday in "Bad Salesman" that I sold a bunch of over priced junk to get a prize. That prize was an alarm clock that was shaped like a baseball, and to shut it off you threw it against the wall and that woke you up. Crude but effective eh?

After paying for shipping and handling (Another fine print detail that I failed to notice when I signed up) I got my amazing baseball alarm clock after waiting for the 4-6 weeks of delivery.

I couldn't wait to try it out, and the next morning when my alarm went off I threw it. SMACK right into the wall. I believe I knocked some paint off and I knocked a painting down while the baseball went "Strikkkkkkkkkke!" I went back to sleep but the alarm went off again so I had to walk across the room and shut it off. It did seem to be pretty effective.

The next day I used it, I threw it again. This time instead of hitting the wall I hit the window, and smashed it. The Baseball alarm bounced down the stones by the flower bed and almost beaned my mother while she was working outside. It eventually was beaten to death from the rocks and it uttered one last pitiful.."Strikkkkkkkkke" (Which sounded more like the demon possessed girl from the Exorcist) and it never uttered a sound again.

So the clock ended up costing the cost of shipping and handling, an incredible amount of candy sales, the cost of the window and to fix the wall. Yay Capitalism. My mom wasn't too thrilled about nearly being killed by a baseball shape alarm clock either.

So now I don't believe advertisements anymore, I gave up on being a salesman, and I have the alarm clock on the other side of the room and not very easy to throw.

I am sure the neighbors appreciate that too.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Janus is a Bad Salesman

It is true, I really am a bad salesman. When I look for work and I try to find my true professional drive, usually someone says. "Why don't you try selling stuff, you could make good money doing that!?"
Because I am bad at it, that's why.
I did try it once or twice, back when I was a kid.
Ever hear of Sunny Sales or something like that? You found it in the kids magazines or comic books towards the back cover. You can make money and get prizes! BMX bike, phone, skateboards, basketball hoops, alarm clocks...you name it. Usually this ad was behind the ad that sold you itching powder, X ray glasses that didn't work, and hand buzzers that look better in an advertisement.
Man I am really dating myself with this one.
Anyway I will admit that I was 10, and a complete idiot, and thought that this would be a great way to get stuff. Someone didn't tell me that it was a total rip off, and my dad let me try it that way I would learn what a scam things were and never try it again. Thanks Dad...
So I called Jill the operator, I dialed the toll free number and asked for Jill. I thought of asking for Jenny or Judy, but I was afraid that I might be sent the wrong package.
The catch of course is that you had to sell lots of crap to earn prizes. So if I sold overpriced wrapping paper, tins of chocolate from a knock off brand that cost double the price of anything good, and knick knacks that only my grandmother would find stylish and I sold it to roughly half the town I grew up with, I would be able to get a hundred dollar bike or something.
Always a catch.
This was back in the day before people put up No-Solicitor signs and prevented companys like this from existing (I think they are long gone now, but not sure since I haven't read Boy's Life or Donald Duck comics in about 20 years.)
I did see one "No Solicitor" sign, and I didn't know what it was. So I asked people what it meant. One guy from England told me a Solicitor was a lawyer, My dad told me that a Solicitor was a Salesman, my brother told me that Soliciting was illegal and had something to do with ladys of the night, and I thought the Solicitor was like the Terminator and it was a half man-half machine thing from the future that killed people.
So having a sign that wards of Cyborgs, Prostitutes, Lawyers, and Salesman was a pretty good idea. Anyway...I am wandering off topic.
So I had a few people say no, two people slam the door in my face, and other people that thought that I was a brave 10 year old and bought the cheapest thing in my catalog. a tin of cookies or something. I ended up getting a dinky little prize that broke in two days...but that's another story all together.
One person asked me if I was selling this for school, and in recent years I have seen people selling stuff for school for prizes. Since it is for school people tend to buy a cheap tin of cookies.
Why do schools not have money for stuff, but everyone else does?
Can you imagine the Air force trying to sell this cheap crap so that they can buy a 20 million dollar aircraft? for only 200 million tins of cookies, they could pull it off.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

.Futility with a smile.

Today we lost another person at Telly's retirement place this week.
Complications from Pneumonia is the official rumor, since that is what he went to the hospital for and since that is the last report we had. The rumor mill network of the retirement home is usually reliable and always makes management nervous. (It can be a bad thing if you want to keep a hundred and fifty people in close quarters that have nothing better to do than find intrigue.)
Two weeks ago was the last time I saw him, and he looked a bit pale but otherwise he seemed alright. He handed me the comics from his newspaper and handed Telly the sports section. He always asked me how I was and smiled when I sat next to him in the common room, I think I look like one of his grandkids.
Since I started taking care of Telly last fall we have lost at least 8 residents. I dread seeing the clipboard with the sympathy card when I walk in, that means another person has passed away that week. They always put a card up for all the residents to sign. This time it was different though, this time it was someone that I had seen and talked to.
Normally I can shrug off that sadness because I never met the person and that makes them a number. When you read about 3,000 people getting killed in a battle in a war over 200 years does it make you shudder? Probably not. We don't even think of them as real people after a while, just statistics.
I am able to do what I do because I can love and care about anyone that I get to know, that is why I am able to drag myself out of bed with less than 4 hours of sleep at least two days a week and enjoy talking to a man that tells me the same story at least 3 times a week. That is why I am able to smile and not notice the smell and sight of nosebleeds, vomit, and urine. That is why I don't stress out where other people would lose their minds. That is what gives my job (and many times my life) meaning.
That is what makes me love and hate my job at the same time. You wish you didn't care, you wish you didn't have to think that most people will only leave that place in an ambulance, you wish that you had the power to give life to people.
No matter how often I wash my hands, wear my gloves, and make breakfast...I can not stop the inevitable. I hate death so much.
I can make people's remaining life easier and full of love, I can bring smiles to peoples face, and I can give them dignity despite illness or age. I can't save them though in the end no matter how much I wish I can. This is a battle I never will or can win.
That is what keeps me awake at night, makes me cry for people I hardly know.
That is why I fear the clipboard in the front hall.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Walk On The Wilde Side

During my recent birthday (was wondering how I would put that in) at a quiet time I decided go to library and speed read a book. You may be interested in why I would be reading a book on my birthday. The truth is Rob had to work, and I had to go back to work so I couldn't do what most people do on birthdays, since I was going back to work in an hour and a half. Which rules out keggers (just kidding), relaxing dinners (since I would be checking my watch every few minutes), and going home to see my family (I would have to turn right around as soon as I got home and sat down.)
So yes, going to the library and reading a book made the most sense, since it was close to work and I could loiter there without bothering anyone or having the police tell me to move along.
I read "The Picture of Dorian Gray," by Oscar Wilde.
If you are unfamiliar with the story it is a sort of artistic thriller with all the classic elements of a Victorian novel. Adultery, Murders, Suicides, and lots of shallow witty conversation. Written around the same time as Sherlock Holmes and in those peaceful days around Jack the Ripper.
Without giving you spoilers it is about a handsome and wealthy man that when he sees his picture painted wonderfully offers his soul on a whim to remain young forever and have the painting grow old instead. (Since this is a thriller, it apparently took up his offer.)
Back when this book was first written, it was hated by most critics because it was an immoral novel. (Today most people hate it because it is more wordy than even my blog.)
The author in his second edition said "Books are not moral or immoral, the characters and ideas in the book may be, or the people that read it may be."
I think he was a bit irritated, but he does bring up a point in many cases. I guess people were worried that people would start selling their souls to the art gallery after reading this book. Those critics probably should of read the entire book or looked at the irony and sarcasm.
The point of the book is that living forever as a selfish jerk is fun at first but later takes it's toll on you. Read it sometime and see if Dorian really gets to enjoy his pact.
Anyway I could go on a little more, but work beckons. Have a good one.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Janus will be back soon

Thanks for checking back, sorry to leave you all hangin'.

Will be returning soon, just been a crazy busy week. Saturday night or so things might be more normal. Maybe.



Sunday, May 13, 2007

To My Mom

I was going to write a big complicated piece for Mom today, but I decided that I would rather see my mother today rather than spend the day writing about her. So I just got the bullet point Mothers day post today.

1. For giving me life 30 years ago, despite me being a pain 9 months even before it happened.
2. For making sure that I had good food to eat, and not just Payday bars and Coke.
3. For keeping me safe from snakes and wild dogs, and not being afraid to use a bat to do so.
4. For teaching me to spell Encyclopedia and Dictionary...and other big words, sometimes until 9:00 at night.
5. For encouraging me to read a lot, and also to write. You were always a big fan.
6. For volunteering at my school, Boy scouts, and 4-H club, to be close to me and to learn things yourself.
7. For taking in all my friends that didn't have good moms.
8. For the annoying spit wipes, hand on forehead thermometers, and hydrogen Peroxide on my cuts and scrapes.
9. For knowing when I am the author of something no matter what it is and where you found it, because I can't fool you with an assumed name no matter what. You know me that well.
10. For all the things that I could mention that I don't have time for here and would make this post really just too long.

Thanks Mom, happy Mother's Day.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sometimes lunch is just a lunch

My Inbox is overflowing into Inbox II and Inbox III lately.
Sorry to not give a big update or be reading a heck of a lot the last few days. Trying to balance work, service, and social things on the outside. Trying to keep up with inner turmoil on the inside.
Yesterday I got to have lunch with someone from the church, and that was rather pleasant. I occasionally like to just get together and meet people for a friendly chat and some food once in a while.
Back in the day I used to do plenty of working lunch meetings. Usually if I had someone meeting with me or I was meeting with someone it had some sort of business arrangement or goal. Heaven forbid I would even eat with someone outside my inner inner circle, without making the most of the time.
Well sometimes getting to know people is the best use of time you can have. Life is short, get to know people. That in the long run is more important than wheeling and dealing. It also is much more pleasant.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Two quick updates

After hearing the lesson today, Bella did a good budget up. Now if we can keep with it.
Doesn't sound too frightening, at least til I crave Mcdonalds and then I will want to mug people for Mcnugget money. Self Control ain't my thing.
Last night we talked about some of my long blog ideas that I could never do because you would only have time to read my post during your entire weekend. She said I should put it in a book...I thought she was kidding. She is serious, so I said why not. More details might come later on that one.
Tomorrow I work in the morning, and leaving earlier than normal...so see you, when I see you.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Idea purgatory and more hours for Janus

The biggest trouble I have with my blog is keeping it short. Some of you probably realized that by now. If you haven't... you have to come by on a Wednesday when I am at home and feeling verbal. If I didn't have to worry about getting to work on time, you probably would of got a long one today.
I had a big one in my head, and I thought it through while I was boiling noodles. I paced a little while thinking it over and waiting for the water to hurry up. I wrote it down for another day. The notebook of writing idea purgatory, until the opportunity for it comes up. Sometimes they do come up after all.
So to update you on my life. The car is still doing well and the gas mileage is great.
I am having some more work hours, which is good.
The bad thing was it was because Telly needs more supervision. He took a fall a while back (no not when I was on duty), and when it didn't get better I thought it would be a good idea to have things checked out and told the family. He has a fracture, so we just need to help him out more. His family is doing what they can to make up for the extra hours and effort...so please keep them in prayers.
Bella has been home sick since yesterday, so she is recovering. Please keep her in prayer too. Otherwise things are slowly normalizing.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Waking up, Traffic Court, and God's Presence.

Well I will be honest I did not wake up feeling that great today. Normally I have to get up early on Thursday but today it wasn't for work. A few weeks back I got in the car accident on the way to work, and life has been crazy since. Today I was going to court as a witness for the state against one of the ladies I had an accident with. Some people call the court and get out of it, but I didn't. In fact not until early this morning when I thought it over did I even realize that I could of wormed my way out of it.
Getting up in the morning is always rough, but today I woke up right away with the first alarm. That little prayer the night before asking me to get "My Butt out of bed" probably helps. I say it at least two or three times a week when I got an early morning.
The drive was no big deal...15 minutes and you're there.
Parking on the other hand was a bit of a nightmare. It is one of those elevated parking garages that you drive in circles until you find a space. I then had to find the right building and the right room, but luck (or God rather) was on my side and I found everything and got into the room with 5 minutes to spare before the calling of the cases.
I was trying to figure out who the prosecutor was that I was supposed to check in with, and I couldn't find him/her/it. I wandered over to the desk and asked where I could check in. The police officer just said...just wait 'til your name is called, and went back to his important job of looking at everyone with a bored expression. Well my paper said that I had to check in before my case started, so I was pretty agitated. (I didn't want to get screamed at for being in the wrong place.)
I saw a lawyerly looking man that was wandering in and out of the court room. So I took a chance and asked him if he was the "District attorney."
He smiled and said, "Are you looking for the prosecutor?"
I almost turned red, I have been watching way to much Law and Order, and forgot that Sam Waterson is too busy convicting murderers and doesn't have much time to deal with parking tickets.
"Just get in line with the people in your case, and follow them up to the bench," he said, "They will take it from there."
I went up into the line and stood by Melissa, the reason why I was in court that morning. She looked terrified and had a "game face" smile.
"Hi Melissa." I said, calling her by her name for the first time. About a month ago when we were standing by the side of the road and filling out police reports we didn't talk much. Insurance companies tell you not to talk about the accident, so most people on the safe side don't really talk about anything. Everyone is in shock, no one has anything to say, and most people are afraid of legal issues so the less said the better.
I remember her face again after I saw her today. I remember the baby she had in the car that didn't cry but slept peacefully when we were standing at the road side while our cars were both towed away. I remembered that despite losing my car and having to make payments on another one...that we all walked away unhurt. I remembered how lucky we really were that early Thursday morning almost a month ago.
"It will be alright..." I said to her, without even realizing why I said it.
That nervous game face smile, turned into a real one. She realized that we were alright, and that we were both in this mess and we were both leaving it today. A month ago we couldn't talk really and were in shock, but today we were recovered and neither of us were facing the judge alone. We were both glad to be alive, and it was going to be ok.
We were called up to the bench a few moments later.
"How do you plea," the judge asked her after restating the name and charge.
She pleaded guilty, and the judge turned to me and asked if I was a witness.
"Yes" I said with a smile, why I was smiling I don't really know.
The judge looked up and then smiled back. He asked me if the insurance went through with no trouble. He thanked me for taking the time to come in. Then he told her that since it was her first offense and that I came forward to assure him that all was settled satisfactory that he would give her court supervision and to next time make sure it didn't happen again.
I prayed and prayed that the court date would be canceled so I wouldn't have to go in, but it didn't go away. I realized that morning that God didn't answer my prayer for a good reason.

He answered hers.
Looking back less than two hours ago, it took me longer to park my car than to be called up and give my testimony...looking back I am still glad I went.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Janus knows the drill.

I bit the bullet yesterday.
I went to the dentist.
As I blog lately I realize my pet peeves and phobias have either become worse I am owning up to them. I loathe going to the dentist. I wouldn't say I am afraid of the dentist though, I just don't normally look forward to make an appointment for paying for someone to poke me with sharp tools and make me hurt. I find everyday that I am not alone in dreading dentists, which puts them up there with IRS employees and drill sarges as people to not look forward to visiting.
When I was a kid going to the dentist wasn't too bad. It was just one dentist and one assistant and the dentist's wife doing reception. It was all done in one visit usually and he gave me a toothbrush. Mom got the bill.
When I started paying for my own dentist, he went modern. That is...impersonal and more expensive. He bought a big office with a fountain in it and four exam rooms, and hired two or three hygienists and only saw you if he had to do a procedure or to make a cameo 10 minute appearance to tell you how your X-rays looked. Then he charged about double what he used to for the office visit, and if you had a filling or anything more than a cleaning you had to make an appointment to come back..pay for the office visit and get anything done. That's progress.
The hygienists gave me mixed feelings, I saw two of the three. One was pretty gentle but scowled at you the whole time and made you feel like you were a waste of time. The other was very attractive, didn't say a word the entire time other than "Open" (as in your mouth), and inflicted as much pain as a Nazi Dentist interrogating someone in one of them old movies. I start screaming "Normandy Beach! They are coming on Normandy Beach!" as soon as she started getting warmed up. It usually took about a week for my mouth to stop hurting.
Yesterday I went to my wife's dentist for the first time. I haven't gone to a dentist for about six years (yeah yeah yeah...like you guys are perfect..) for all the reasons mentioned above. Besides now I am insured, that makes a difference.
It went wonderful. I actually saw a dentist for the entire session, he took the time to talk with me before starting to make sure I was comfortable. Very gentle but quick with the procedure. Explained everything he was doing, but did not ask me questions when I had a device in my mouth and wait for an answer. (I hate it when dentists do that.) I left with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a tongue cleaner.
So a dentist is never my favorite person to visit, but I did enjoy things despite that all. Kudos to my lovely wife for getting me to go to a dentist and finding me a good one. She told me this office had good dentists and she would know. She used to work there at one time.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Something completely different-aka Why I hate parking on the street.

A German woman became so furious after a telephone quarrel with her husband that she stormed out of the house armed with a hammer and smashed up his car-before realizing that the car didn't belong to her husband. The 43- year old from Essen told police that she shattered the windshield, broke the headlights, and wrenched off the wing mirrors, causing more than $1200 dollars in damage. After going back indoors she realized she had attacked her neighbors blue Opel Corsa and not the blue Ford Fiesta that belongs to her husband.

A few things came to mind while I read that this morning.
1. My car looks an awful lot like my neighbors that I park next to in the right light. I hope she never gets a fight with her roommate. I am also glad the German lady isn't my neighbor.
2. It must of been a pretty bad telephone quarrel, I have seen people occasionally break a dish. To do 1200 dollars in damage to a car in a blind rage with a hammer. means I have to find a hammer and probably ask Bella where one is, walk downstairs and the dog probably wants to go out to-so put Sammy on a leash, grab my keys, find the first blue car that is available that looks like my wife's since if she called me she wouldn't be home so I would have to walk around a bit, and then still be angry enough to smash a car with the hammer. Yeah...I might just have to settle for pouting, that's too much work.
3. I am really glad that I am married to Bella even more so after reading that, and not to the 43 year old German lady with a hammer. I wonder if the husband has since been killed since the article printed.

Now with that in mind I think my day is already brighter, and I just woke up.

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