The Haircut

So I have issues. I know it, but the difference is I now no longer feel the need to mask them up in some cloud of normalcy.  One of these issues is with guys who cut hair. It’s not right. Stereotypical? Sure. It just creeps me out, not in a homophobic way, it’s just not at all what I’m used to. Obviously guys have the right to cut hair as their profession. In fact, the best line the runways of some of largest fashion shows and back lots of major motion picture production sets and i certainly like watching them work on shows like Project Runway. I am sue this post will anger some folks, and that is not my intent.

I have had my hair cut by guys before, and the haircuts have been… meh. The best so far was from Scott at rSalon. However it was for my wig, from my role as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Techincolor Dreamcoat. He was really good. But that was a wig he cut and not my real hair. I would be lying if I told you that all the cuts by gals were perfect… they haven’t. Frankly, the whole notion of getting your haircut creeps me out. Unknown people touching your hair. Insisting on making simple conversation based around the weather, and the differences between the cities… hair clippings on the floor pushed around by an old push broom. There’s always soft rock music on the speaks and if your lucky you’re blessed with the guy in the waiting section that needs to turn to around down the volume on his smartphone while he plays his time wasting game. Seriously can’t deal with that guy right now. I am currently writing this post while waiting to get my haircut. Have not had one in two months. It’s way overdue. But I can see that the rotation of people in line and who’s almost done cutting hair that I am lined up to have the guy. I want to leave, but the dilemma. I need a haircut. What to do? Just then Julie and the kids come walking in the salon ready to go to lunch. What timing. Aaron needs a haircut to start school. Within seconds my name is called and boom, Aaron gets the fast pass to the top of the line. My hair cut will gladly wait a few more days. Aaron looks adorable and ready for school. I need to just make a standing appointment with someone at rSalon and lose the anxiety all together.

I told you. I have issues.

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Home vs. House

I spent what appears to be my final day in the home on Bay tonight. All the walls are bare. All the spaces are quiet. All the rooms are empty with one exception. My Grandma Mayernik’s old washing machine is still in the basement. It has to go. My friend Mike is here to help me take it out of the house and place it on the curb. I cannot help but be emotional. We have spent 10 years at Bay and have enjoyed 15 years with that washer. The only reason I have it is because my grandmother unfortunately passed away a couple weeks before our wedding. And it was given to us to use in our first apartment. For 15 years every time I did a load of laundry I thought of my Grandma. All three kids onesies were washed in it. Every pillow case, all the socks, stuffed animals, shirts and pants at one time passed through this washer. While memories of my Grandma were passing through my brain. The realization of it not coming to the house makes me sick. I know it’s just an object but it’s hard to let go. Two of the cycles are broken. A newer washer was left in the new house, but some things are just hard to let go. Now it sits on the curb. Ready for someone else’s basement. Part on me feels like I just stepped into the movie Toy Story and that washer watched me drive away the whole time saying… “Wait! where you going! Stop! What about all the onesies I had to wash? What about the memory of your Grandma?” Crazy. Some things are just hard to let go.

Here’s my Art Director’s attempt at some good old fashioned “Fishingpoet” poetry. This is stuff I thought about while I walking through the empty home for the last time.

Home vs House.

Home is where we lived. House is what we bought.

Home is where we played. House is where we have yet to.

Home is where we slept. House is where we renovate.

Home is where we packed. House is where we unpack.

Home is where we sorted. House is where we organize.

Home is where we cleared. House is where we tear down.

Home is where they grew up. House is where they mature.

Home is where I think of my Grandma every time I do a load of laundry. House is, your damn right I am still going to think of my Grandma every time I do a load of laundry.

Home is memories. House is unknown.

Home is the past. House will be, the future Home.

…and the cycle continues.

Sacrifice

On Sunday, the visiting Missionary Fr. Joe spoke of sacrifice in his homily, and quoted the Gospel of John: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I always thought of this passage in term of dying for those you love, and have felt this was one passage the average person could never relate to, or live up to. What I mean is, how many people are placed in situations (outside of the military, law enforcement, and fire fighters) where they actually are forced to make a choice to lay down there life for others? But Sunday left me with an entirely new perspective. Fr. Joe spoke about volunteering your time, helping those less fortunate, sharing your talents, spending time with family and friends, and caring for those in need as all additional representations of laying down your life. And in turn, this is the ultimate gift you can give. Now, that’s something I can relate to.

Through Fr. Joe’s broken English and witty humor (I am pretty sure he dropped the F-Bomb… seriously not kidding) I found his message to be particularly timely. I related to his homily on Sunday morning, because so many have been eager to help us with the new renovations of our home. We have been very fortunate that so many have volunteered their time and talents. We couldn’t have brought the renovations as far as they have without their help.

I’m glad I paid attention to the homily on Sunday. I have to admit, I can become easily distracted during the homilies being in the choir. I don’t listen to as many as I should. Sacrifice. Sharing your talents with family and friends. Laying down your life. It is the ultimate gift. I’m glad I listened today.

Renting Space

We rent stuff.

Physical stuff like apartments, stereos, sports cars from Hertz, and wood chippers. These things come and go over a weekend, a month or even a couple years. But what about the emotional stuff? Work deadlines, past projects, finances, family obligations, outside activities, and let’s not forget personal demons.
These thoughts rent space in the brain. Some unwelcomed. Some uncontrolled. Most self-induced. I certainly have fallen victim for letting memories or situations rent space in my brain for far longer than they should. In fact, some I like, and never want to leave. I like to call them my top ten of memories. Some memories are so positive they have burned a permanent place in the mushy part of my brain. The trick is to finally say to yourself there is “no vacancy” at the Cerebral Motel 6 for the ones that have over stayed their welcome. If you figure this out please let me know.

For a brand in need of marketing this can be tough challenge. The rented space in a company is not just the square footage of office cubicles and Xerox copiers. It’s situations like trying to sift through the red tape of corporate culture or navigating interoffice politics while trying to get to the core of real change. It hurts productivity. It lingers. It bogs down, mired in process with little action.

I am done having stuff rent space in my brain. When I figure this out, I will let you know. Unwelcomed renters be warned, your papers have been served. Can you say the same about your brand?

I Fear Dogs

After a discussion with Aaron, my youngest son, about roller coasters he said a peculiar thing… he said “Dad, you are not afraid of anything.” (I wish that were true.) He then continued to say, “You’re not afraid of spiders, bugs, heights… because you go on the roof and ride the really big roller coasters. You go in the basement alone and are not afraid of the dark. So what are you afraid of?”

“Dogs.” I told him. “I’m afraid of Dogs. To many times getting chased by them on my bike while trying to deliver newspapers as a kid I guess.” But really, this was a quick answer to not have to really answer. Yes, I am afraid of barking dogs but the truth is I am afraid of lots, and I have two biggies.

One: I am afraid of growing old.
Two: I am afraid of dying young.

Sounds contradictory? Anxiety filled? Maybe. Let me try to explain. First, I am afraid of growing old. Let me first start out by saying growing old is a blessing. I look forward to seeing my grandchildren get married have their own families some day. The trade off is that life becomes different. With age comes wear and tear on the body. I see many around me who seem to even struggle with walking, shells of their former selves. Succommed to the realization that life has passed them by. That marketing no longer targets them. Music is no longer made for them, and memories are slowly slipping away. Having to bury family, friends and even children that move on to another life has to be gut wrenching, and I am haunted by even having this thought.

I also fear not getting the opportunity to grow old. I see so many leave this earth too soon, and in the prime of their lives with so much more to give. Some with no warning… Just, poof… and your no longer here. I read a quote long ago that stated: Growing old is a privilege denied to many. This really stuck with me. I fear there would be so much I haven’t seen or tried, so much music I never got to listen to, and robbed of memories I would never have a chance to acquire with my family and friends that would be forced to carry on. I know from experience this is gut wrenching, and I am haunted by even having this thought.

The reality is I should not fear either: Why ruin the present thinking about the distant future, or potential lack thereof? There’s no guarantee either way. When I stop and think about it is contradictory and anxiety filled. It’s rather crazy, and I should take my own advice and try to conquer the fears. I need to move on from them and just live life knowing everyday matters and then be at peace with whatever happens.

This is a lot to lay on a 9 year old so I just say,
“Hmmm, what to I fear? Dogs Aaron. I fear dogs.”

Time Bandit

I have lost all track of time. If sleep is currency, I’m overdrawn. 8am comes too fast and I’m again in the grind. In a flash I’m finally eating at 10pm, when I realized lunch consisted of a quick wrap and a Mt. Dew. In a blink it’s instantly 2am and I’m still working on an invitation, designing a poster or illustration. The new house, work, RAF, freelance, and family has thrown the internal clock down the hallway, smashing it into tiny pieces. Lately it seems I am a chain smoker for projects. Starting one while finishing the other. It’s left me feeling like one big ashtray at the end of the night, or morning, or oh… whatever it is right now.

My philosophy… Get the job done. Sleep can wait. My head taunts me with words like “You may not get another opportunity to do X,Y,Z, so better get on it.” However, I’m slowly pushing myself to the break point of mental and physical limits. I’m finding that more and more I’m not respecting the value of rest. And with so much still to do… I ask myself, “will I ever get back from the ledge?”

Right now I’m not so sure.

Acoustically Perfect.

The house is empty.

All the windows are bare.

Tools are everywhere.

There is nothing to deaden the sound.

Which causes a really cool thing to happen. When standing in the center of my kitchen the sound’s in the sweetspot. That area where voices resonate like you’re singing into a microphone at an acoustically perfect theater. Really, the entire first floor is like this, but the center of the kitchen is particularly good.

Amplified.

So when I crank the music and am signing along it gets loud. Okay I get loud. I realized this today when the band Alter Bridge came up on the shuffled ipod. I stood in the sweetspot and sang. I took 4 minutes out of my mudding and scrapping to just be in the moment. Now if you are familiar with the song Open Your Eyes. you know it’s pretty cool. If not, well at 2:20 seconds in, the lead singer signs really theatrical, it builds and takes an unexpected turn… and it's pretty awesome. It's a part I love to sing along to in the car. Oh, but now I have the sweetspot. This is good times, potato salad.

So I am alone in the house singing in the kitchen. Belting away. After the song is done it occurs to me that with no blinds on the windows the new neighbors can see right in. And since I was loud the chances of them getting to hear and see my American Idol moment was pretty good. I should probably mention that i have yet to meet any of them. Just perfect.

Yeah, welcome to the neighborhood.