Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Feast or Famine

The weekend was beyond great...

Chantel and I talked often while she was in Vegas. She got home late Friday and called to let me know she got home ok. She then asked about coming to see me and the kids on Saturday. I figured she would need some rest after her trip, but she wanted to see us. She wasn't positive she could make it, and would call me the next day. We had the first day of baseball that I mentioned in my last post.

I dropped Erik off with my ex so that he would not have to be hanging around while Kevin's team photos were done. I got Kevin to his team session on time. They finally got their uniforms right before the pictures. At least that guaranteed the shirts would be clean.

We had a short break before the first game. The game started at 9am sharp. Kevin was starting catcher. The first 2 innings were quite exciting. Kevin had hit a triple in the first inning. The score was 3-1. Then the battle began. Our pitcher was doing a phenomenal job. He was pitching fast, straight, and in the strike zone. Nothing got past Kevin.

The scoring had stopped we had more hits than they had, but neither of the teams were scoring. It was getting intense. Each team wanted to get more points on the board, but both defenses were doing a hell of a good job. Errors were just not happening.

During the last inning Kevin had a chance at ending the game by catching a pop-up foul ball. It dropped right into his catcher's mit, but then he bobbled it. That pissed Kevin off. His emotions were high. This is where he can make big mistakes. He picked up the ball and threw it wildly at the Brad. He couldn't reach it, but luckily the short stop was paying attention and got the ball back in control before the runner on 3rd had a chance to take advantage. Final score 3-1. I had a talk about Kevin keeping his cool. He knew he almost blew it. I think he just needed to know the risks and it brought him back down to reality. I took the boys to lunch near the ball parks.

Chantel and kids showed up just after we got back. We had a little time before Erik's pictures. We hung out and talked while the kids played catch. Chantel's kids don't play baseball, but we had extra gloves. Tugg (her oldest) is very good at throwing and catching even though he hasn't ever played baseball. Cody is not as coordinated. He had a good time though. He's a crack up, and always makes me laugh. It was good to see them all getting along so well.

We did the picture thing for Erik, then we all went to cool off with some ice cream. It was an abnormally hot April day (strange to think that we were bitching about the blizzard not even a week before). We headed over to the field for Erik's team's game (The Alleycats). I had asked Chantel if they all wanted to spend the night. The kids were all for it.

Erik's game started at 5. He was playing 3rd base to start with. The coach had noticed in a previous practice that Erik has a great arm. He promised to have him start at 3rd. Later Erik got to play first base, then he pitched the final inning. Erik got one really good hit, and played his heart out. Unfortunately the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

We took a vote on what to do about dinner. They all wanted to go to Fargo's Pizza. My vote was over-ruled. Actually, I rescinded my vote since they all wanted to go there so bad. We filled up on pizza, the kids numbed their brains on some games, then we went home. After a couple minor melt-downs from the kids.

All 4 of the bigger boys slept in the family room on the floor, couch and recliner. We let them stay up late playing XBox and watching movies. Josh was not doing so well. He is 3, is trying to get over a cold, and could not sleep.

Chantel and I decided that sleeping in the same bed was probably not a good idea the first time with all the kids together. She talked about sleeping on the floor in my room. I would not have that. We tried to get Josh to sleep on the floor in my room. It worked for a little while but then he was up around midnight and wasn't going to go back down. We stayed up most of the night watching cartoons with Josh, hoping he would fall asleep (we tried to keep the hank-panky to a minimum... we almost succeeded).

The next day she and I were exhausted from lack of sleep. They needed to get back home and I was taking my kids, and my brother to my mom's house for the day. We cleaned out my mom's garage for her. We had a good day with mom. Had some of her amazing spaghetti sauce, an apple pie made from scratch (Kevin requested this weeks ago) and practiced baseball stuff with whiffle balls in mom's back yard..

Monday and Tuesday during the day was spent with Chantel, Cody and Josh. It feels so good to spend time with them. Chantel's kids have really taken a liking to me. Cody was teasing us that we were going to get married. We just chuckled. That thought is not one that scares me.

On the job front I have been getting tons of calls for jobs. Many of them the same jobs I have already been submitted for, but there were a couple new ones and some new developments on old ones.

I had a phone screening/interview today for one of the new calls. This is for a mortgage company that is developing some software. It sounds like they need a lot of help. All of which I am willing to assist with. I have another phone interview tomorrow for a large corporation on the north side of Denver (add another hour to the commute). On Friday I have a face to face interview with a company on the south end of Denver that seems a bit out of the ordinary. They have software development going on, but have not implemented much as far as a Configuration Management philosophy or tools. It would be a large undertaking for me, plus I may have to learn a new tool set. We'll see how that goes. Out of the 3 I just spoke of I like the sounds of the one I interviewed for today.

I am still hoping for the local company I spoke of the other day to come through. I know they have talent and dedicated engineers that I can work with. I think it's time to give them a nudge to see where things stand.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Long Frustrating Week

I haven't posted since Saturday???

It's been a difficult week...

We were beaten to a pulp by the blizzard that ripped its way though the area on Sunday. Chantel and her mom were supposed to fly to Las Vegas Sunday morning, but the flight was cancelled. The storm hit right before they got to the airport. They were trying to catch a different flight, but to no avail. They didn't get back to her house until late in the day.

The storm kept me from leaving my house even though I would not hesitate to go somewhere if I felt the need. I was going to see a movie with Mike (Bro) that night, but he had heard a lot of streets were closed. He is new to driving a 4x4 (he just got a Range Rover) so he was not comfortable trekking across town. I didn't even bother to see if the movie theater down the street was still open.

The next morning was gloomy, but the storm had ended. I was waken by Erik. School was closed. Irene, my ex, dropped him off on her way to work. I got up and hung out with Erik for a while. Kevin was stuck out at our friend's house in Calhan. He spent the night there on Saturday and couldn't get out during the storm. The Interstate had re-opened, but the east/west highways were still closed.

A snow plow came down the street. I was surprised how quickly they got to the residential streets. It started warming up very quickly. The street in front of my house had a nice path cut into it that I could see was already melted down to the pavement. My driveway was a sheet of ice about an inch thick. All of the snow had blown off just leaving this thick crusty ice. There was no way I was going to be able to clear it off.

Chantel called, her kids were home as well. Erik and I decided to go visit. I was not sure that was a great idea considering the roads may be worse in other parts. We would only have a few hours since I had to be back for Kevin if they were about to clear Highway 24. It was my night to take the boys to dinner (my week without the kids). We took the truck.

The streets were relatively clear through town. A few patches where the plows needed to make a few more passes. The Interstate was clear. I probably could have made it in the car without any problems but I felt better in the truck. It took us longer than usual to get to Chantel's because of all the cars that had been abandoned on the Interstate. There were cars, buses, and semis stuck in the median, so in really bad shape. Up in Castle Rock there was a delivery truck on its side in the median. It amazed me how quickly things were warming up. Springtime in Colorado, you gotta love it.

I got a call from Irma that the highway was opened and they would be taking Kevin to my house soon. I told them I would be back in a few hours.

Chantel's older boys went to the mall with Marasel (one of these days I'll figure out the spelling) before we got there. I guess they were thinking we would be staying for dinner. Erik played video games with Josh. Erik likes Josh a lot, but he was hoping the other boys would be there too.

Chantel and her mom rescheduled their trip for Tuesday so she was repacking her bag. A few days before she had tried some things on to get my opinion. To be honest I was nervous. She has a great body, and with the clothes she was taking she was going to get a lot of guys eye-ing her. I joked about her just taking some plain clothes.

Chantel asked if I would be able to take her and her mom to the airport Tuesday evening. I had no real plans for the next day so I agreed (OMG, I have to meet her mom). She could have had her brother take them, but she wanted to see me again before they went.

Erik and I had to get back down to get Kevin and go to dinner. We ended up at Red Robin since Texas Roadhouse had a 90 minute wait. We had a good evening. I kept them a little longer since Irene was at some dinner thing with her boyfriend.

I spent most of the next day with Chantel, helping her with some shopping and re-packing...again. Josh came down with a cold and was not himself. Apparently he likes me more than most people. I sat there on the couch and rubbed his back. I guess he won't even allow his dad to do that. I thought that was kind of sad. He is such a sweet kid.

I got them to the airport on time. I started missing her immediately (is this normal?).

The next day I was very depressed. It has been 6 weeks since I had a job. I had not heard back about interviews for far too many days. Being out of work is really getting to me. It didn't hit until this day because I was distracted by Chantel. I was not motivated and felt like I may have to start looking for contracts out of state. I have avoided this because of my kids, but I was not expecting to be unemployed this long. I spent the entire day online searching for jobs. I looked for work in LA, Detroit, Dallas, and Phoenix. I stuck to these places because I don't want to go somewhere that I don't know anyone. It was a very long day.

Thoughts of missing my kids was making me even more depressed that night. I told myself, quoting my good friend Arlene, "get a grip!". I realized that I was being to passive in my search since jobs in the past were just dropping in my lap. I needed to be more aggressive. I was going to get on the ball tomorrow.

I woke early. I have been anyway since I have been having a lot of back problems. I immediately started contacting all of the agencies that have put me in for jobs to find out what is going on. No immediate response. I then started scouring other job search sites looking for other places that may be posting other than on I kept seeing the same jobs I was already submitted for.

A recruiter that I had missed in my flurry of morning e-mail reminders called to see if I had heard anything about the position she put me in for. I told her I haven't heard a single word. She was annoyed with that and said she would rattle some cages and get back to me ASAP.

I got out and started rotating the tires on my car. I was way behind on doing that. I thought about what else I could be doing to find work. I got a call from the last agency I was with. The permanent job they had put me in for was not going to be able to meet my salary requirements. I asked what they could do. I agreed to a lower salary (can you tell I am getting desperate?), but she couldn't tell me the client because it was going through her colleague. Some of the rules these people have piss me off.

I decided to take the car down to the car wash. I needed to clean under the hood as well. I left the phone in the car. While I was washing the road shit from my mobile I got a message from an old colleague that thought of me as soon as he heard they had an SCM opening. He did not know I was not currently working. He informed me that a bunch of my old colleagues were working for him. We all worked together back before 9/11 knocked the company we were at (Opuswave) under a bus. He contacted me this morning saying that he submitted my resume to the hiring manager with his recommendation.

What a difference a day makes...

Today I am working on cleaning up the truck and getting ready for my week with the boys. Tomorrow is going to be a bitch. It is opening day for Little League. Kevin has team pictures at 7:30am, a game from 9 to 11. Opening ceremonies starts at 12. Erik has his team pictures at 1:15, then a game from 5 to 6:30. I am going to be exhausted.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Spring Break is over

The kids were sorry that their Spring Break had ended. I, on the other hand, was glad to have some time to get some things done around the house. I had cleaned the carpets and straightened up around the house. A lot of this was prompted by Chantel coming for a visit that one day.

We had school, baseball practices, Erik's tutoring, and homework all week long. During the day I would field inquiries from recruiters all day long. I keep getting contacted by 6 or 7 recruiting agencies for the same jobs. I hope this all ends soon.

I am finding it hard to focus since Chantel came along. She is such a wonderful person and an incredible distraction. We weren't supposed to be getting together at all this week, but we just couldn't stay away from each other. We went out to lunch with Linda (Chantel's best friend and Evans' wife). We took her son Cody to a movie last night. I ended up staying at her house until 2 am. We get together and it becomes impossible to get us apart.

She is going to Linda's baby shower today with her mom, then getting ready for their Vegas trip. They leave very early Sunday morning. I won't see her until probably Thursday at the earliest. I will truly miss her.

Her family is worried about the 2 of us going so fast. We worry about it too, but we don't care. It feels so good to be with her, I can't stand to not be with her whenever time allows it.

Kevin had a scrimmage game on Thursday even against another team. Since it was a scrimmage we didn't have officials, so parents had to fill in. I was the infield ump while a parent from the other team called the pitches. He was calling pitches that were way outside strikes. But it was only a scrimmage and that is not an easy job. I had to do it a few times before.

Kevin was the starting catcher. The catcher drills they were running the previous practices were paying off. Only the extremely wild pitches were getting past him. He also played a little in right field and then 3rd base.

Kevin's team was down most of the game due to a few errors and some incredible pitching from the kids on their team. Kevin's first 2 at bats were fruitless. He was struck out both times. His third time up he nailed a shot down the right-field line. He got a stand up triple. His last time up I believe he got a single.

We were in the second to last inning and down by 1 run. We had bases loaded when the catcher from the other team made a critical error and tried to throw out our kid that just hit a single. He was walking back to the base when the catcher tried to throw it to first to get him tagged out. He over threw it. Two runs made it around giving us the lead. They couldn't score their next time at bat. It was a sweet victory.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Whirlwind

It's been a slow week for job interviews. I have had some very promising phone calls. I keep saying this, but it looks like I may find something soon.

As for my love life it is already very exciting and intense. Chantel and I have seen each other a number of times in just one short week. We both seem to feel the same way about each other. I have not been this happy in a VERY long time. In fact I may not have ever been this happy.

Our friendship continues to grow. We continue to talk about even the most intense subjects with a complete openness that is so refreshing. Neither of us are perfect people and have had imperfect marriages. We know the deepest and darkest secrets of each others past. We talk and I get completely captivated by her.

On top of all that she is on the top of my list of great kissers (no, I don't really have a list). We are so in tune with each other. I don't know how to describe it really. The passion between us is intense. I have heard that relationships that start out so hot never last. I just know we are going to break that rule.

There are so many things about her that I know my family and friends would say 'whoa, slow down. Are you crazy?' She is still married. She and her husband are still living in the same house, but are separated. They are doing this for this kids. They know that it will eventually have to change. He knows all about me, plus he also has a girlfriend that he has been with for some time. He's a nice enough guy, but I completely understand why the 2 of them cannot stay together. I knew all of this when Evans asked if I would like to meet her. I will be in debted to Evans and Linda forever.

I did break my dating rule about introducing the kids. I took the boys to her house. I also met her kids, husband and his girlfriend. He wants me to build him a new computer (if the price is right). This was one of the reasons why we were invited over. We discussed what his needs are and I am working on the quotes now. Our kids got along great. It was a little bit awkward getting into all of this, but it has so much potencial for the 'happily ever after' for us that I know it is worth it.

Chantel came to see me yesterday with her 3 year old son. He is such a ball of energy. What a cute kid. I then went out with her to dinner last night. It's almost as if we are testing each other to see if we'll get sick of each other reall y fast. That has not happened, and all indications point to a great loving relationship. I can hardly believe it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Lots Happening

Being out of work has been boring and frustrating, but that seems to be changing.

I had the interview earlier this week and I am getting lots of calls about job. Most of these calls are jobs that are out of state, but a few are not.

I get the boys back today. They've been in Idaho for the week with Irene. I have missed them a lot. I have obviously been distracted by Chantel, but I still miss them.

I was concerned about asking Chantel out again so soon. I don't want to seem too eager, but then again we did hit it off so well. She is going to Vegas next weekend with her mom, so I figured it would be weeks before I see her again because I have this rule (that I may need to break) about not dating on the week I have my kids. I called her Wednesday. She and I have such an easy time talking. I guess it's because we are both very interested in each other.

We went out yesterday for our second date. It seems like it doesn't matter how much time we spend together, it just isn't enough. We got together at 4 for a late afternoon movie. I know that the rule is not to go to movies on the first or second date, but I knew that since she wanted to get together early and that we had until at least midnight that we would have plenty of time for conversation. After the movie we had a light dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (with dessert of course). We then went over to Fox & Hound to play some pool.

I am very taken with Chantel. I have not hit it off so well with someone in a very long time. I may have to break the no dating when I have the kids rule early. I am also feeling like I don't need to avoid introducing her to the boys. She has kids herself, and I am fairly confident that the kids situation won't cause any problems. I'll give it a few weeks though.