Thursday, May 29, 2008

In more heart-warming news....

My weekend trip to Salt Lake City with my daughter was nothing short of amazing. She's such a spiritual child that the sights to see in that city were truly touching to her. Her disposition is so positive and pleasant. And she's truly grateful for everything.

We arrived at the Marriott City Center is very impressive, with elegant marble throughout. My daughter has never stayed anywhere like this. We went through the revolving doors and stood in the lobby. Her eyes went wide and she looked around her in astonishment. "Uhm, Mom? Have I told you how much I love you lately?" Then she went giddy when a bellhop took her bags.

The weekend was one moving moment to another for her. Watching her delight in everything was truly inspirational and refreshing to me.

Her camera was a constant companion. I'm going to include some of her pictures here, for you all to enjoy, too. Well, I hope you do! I've left them without captions, just so you can see what she saw, through her unique eye.

So, here's my daughter's Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The rest of the story

Ranger has now loaded everything he had at the park into a storage unit here. He's looking for jobs here. Right now, it's anything he can find, then he'll worry about finding his ideal job.

Now that the dust has settled, he thinks he's figured out what exactly happened last Friday. He showed up for work, after three days off, and found that the register tally was off. Mike had been working it while Ranger was gone.

Keep this in mind: they do not have individual user IDs for the register. There's no logging on or off, and there's no way to tell who was actually using it when a transaction happened.

There's a form they have to fill out when they open, recording certain numbers for the opening state of the register. Ranger did this, found the discrepancy, and wrote his documentation at the bottom of the form, including that it was balanced when he left and who was scheduled to work it while he was gone.

The morning was very busy, but he got no help from Mike, who kept disappearing back to his apartment instead of working. Ranger admits he was riding his case pretty hard that day because Mike was slacking off so bad. Mike was at the apartments when I got there, and went to the station to tell Ranger to take lunch and go see me.

Ranger did just that. While he was telling me about his frustrations that morning, he remembered that he left the morning's form (with his documentation) at the station. He hoped Mike didn't find it, since it was about him.

When he got back to work, his worst fears were confirmed. And then some. His morning form was gone. A new one was in its place, without his notes at the bottom. Mike had copied all of the opening data to a new form, called the boss, and was accusing Ranger of being responsible for the discrepancy.

Mike's "proof" was that there was a new transaction and the $30 for it was missing. He claimed to have found the new transaction when he relieved Ranger for lunch.

The rest is the most unbelievable part, where Ranger gets arrested for the discrepancy. They took the $700 (that he had saved to get his son back home) from his apartment and gave it to the authorities as evidence. Nevermind that the discrepancy wasn't that much....

That night, the Big Boss runs all the reports he needs on that register. They find what caused the discrepancy while Ranger was gone. What's left is the transaction that Mike "found."

Most likely, this is a phantom transaction that Mike rang up, to get rid of Ranger. The time of it is after Ranger left for lunch, about the time Mike would have found the form from the morning, with Ranger's notes.

The following morning, the police try to get Ranger to confess to taking $30 from the register. They're still holding his $700 as "evidence," even though they are now worried about a $30 transaction. Ranger refuses and is allowed to see his son and get bail arranged.

He realized then that his son never called me. Why? He couldn't find my name in his dad's phone. Ranger felt a little silly over that - he uses the nickname he has for me in his phone: "Beautiful."

Ranger called the prosecutor the other day and learned the charge against him has been reduced to a Class B Misdemeanor, for "altering records." That is a mystery to him. He has no idea where that's coming from. No mention of theft now. And the $700? They're still holding it because the case is "under investigation."

Can you say ridiculous? As you might guess, Ranger is depressed. He's found a stop-gap job here and is hoping his last paycheck will be enough to find a place to live.

I'm just heartbroken for him.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


It was due, wasn't it? Law of averages + my life = inevitable catastrophe. Of epic proportions.

First, let me say this about Ranger: He's the most "what you see is what you get" person I've ever know. He holds the values of decency, honesty, integrity, trust, loyalty, and doing what's right for your fellow man at the core of his being. Karma is a huge concept with him. This is why his ex's cheating has been such a staggering blow to him. That's why he's frustrated that his coworkers don't seem to take pride in what they do. Doing a job is worth doing it right, and all. It's also why he never passes a stranded traveler on the highway; he stops to help, even when it's to his own detriment.

My daughter and I were on our way to Salt Lake City yesterday, so we stopped at the park to visit Ranger and his son. Sweet kid, by the way. Smart, too. We were there during Ranger's lunch break, and he was frustrated to the point of distraction. While he was visiting me that week, his new roommate had busted his $2,000 computer, at the core of his entertainment system. Even the remotes were sticky. When the roommate arrived the previous week, again while Ranger was out of town, someone had gone through all of his stuff -- including the drawer of my lingerie. Nice.

Anyhow, during that lunch break yesterday, he told me about arriving at work that morning to find a cash register that was already showing a $300 discrepancy. No notes had been taken during his off time, to let him know why that happened. This is the latest in a long string of similar problems that he finds when he starts his work week. He's done all he can do about the mistakes he finds, since he's not a supervisor. He documents everything, to make sure his own ass is covered.

Lately, his documentation has been making some people nervous. He's commented on one guy in particular, who is a supervisor (although not Ranger's supervisor) and appears frequently in the documentation. He may have suspected his featured role in it, though, when he told Ranger last week, "Just give me what you have documented and I'll be sure it's taken care of." Ranger refused, saying that he'd rather cover it with the Big Boss.

So, he ran the necessary reports yesterday and wrote up his documentation on the register incident. He headed back to work when my daughter and I left. Doofushead Mike was covering lunch, so he hoped it wouldn't be more out of balance when he got back. I saw him head to the Big Boss's quarters, to find out what to do about the register problem.

He knew I was headed into bad weather in the mountains, so he insisted I call the moment I made it through, to let him know we're safe. I called, but had to leave a voicemail. He didn't call back. I texted. No answer. I called again. Voicemail again. Late last night, I called and said I was worried that something was wrong. I called the apartment number (which is a party line) and was told he wasn't there. Very, very unusual.

I didn't rest all night. I could feel it. Call it a disturbance in the Force (lol) or whatever, but it was just in the air. Something was very, very wrong.

This morning, his phone went straight to voicemail. I can't remember his son's cell number. I tried to find it, but no luck. I called the apartment number again, and got Doofushead Mike next door.

"Uhm, Ranger isn't here," he said. His tone was really odd, though. Something was definitely wrong. I stayed quiet, which usually makes him talk more.

"Uhm....," he said. "I'm not sure how you can reach him. He was removed yesterday and I don't know what you can do."


"Mike, what's going on?"

"I really can't say. I talked to his ex last night and she's trying to get their son home."

"Can I get a message to Ranger somehow? Or his son?"

"Sure. Give me your number and I'll get it to him or his son." That was about as helpful as Mike gets, so I thanked him. However, I pretty well knew he wouldn't do anything about it. Just a gut feeling.

I hung up the phone. Panic set in. What is God's name is going on? "Removed"? I could think of one place to call, and I hated that thought. It's outside of my frame of reference, really. I don't know how you do these things. But I hit the 'Net and found the number I needed.

I called the local jail. He wasn't there.

I allowed myself one sigh of relief before the panic came back.

From the tiny bit of information Mike managed to give me, whatever happened made it necessary for his son to go home in a hurry. So, I had only one person left to ask, to get some idea of what happened. told me what I needed to know. I bit the bullet. I called his ex.

She was surprised to hear from me, of course. I said I didn't know what was happening, Mike had been very mysterious, but that I understood that her son needed help. She was very appreciative, but she had someone at the door and said she'd call back as soon as possible and fill me in.

So, I waited.

I'm not good at waiting.

I pulled myself together enough to shower. My mind raced. What the hell has happened? And why won't he call me to tell me? Or have someone call me? Why am I having to do the tracking down? Maybe I offended somehow and he doesn't ever want to talk to me again. I just couldn't wrap my head around this thing.

I turn the water off and my phone rings. Simultaneously.

"I don't know where to start," she said.

"Anywhere," I said. "All I know is that I was at the park for lunch yesterday and everything was fine. He was frustrated about a mistake he found, but he documented it and was headed back to work. Then I couldn't reach him. I talked to Mike this morning and he's being really cryptic."

"Okay, well, long story short," she said. "Ranger was arrested yesterday on suspicion of theft."

I gasped and nearly dropped the phone. "Uhm, no way. That's not him."

"I know," she said. "I don't know what's happened, but it's a big mess." She told me where he was, at the county jail about an hour away from where he works.

I talked to her about what they were doing to get him out. We talked about their son and what to do to get him home. I offered my help. I could help him find a place to stay for the weekend and pick him up on Monday. She actually had told her son to call me last night, but he wasn't sure what to say. Poor kid has met me twice and is painfully shy.

It was a half an hour before their son could get in to talk to Ranger. I told her I'd try to call him a little later. She promised to get back to me if she had news or needed help at all. Despite the circumstances, it was a good conversation. I'd known she wouldn't be ugly to me -- I was calling to ask for info and offer help. She had the upper hand, and she likes that.

I waited and tried to call the jail. The woman who answered started off by being a smartass with me, until I told her Ranger's name. Then, she turned helpful. "They're working on getting him out right now. I tell him you called."

At that point, I had to squelch my panic and desperation to talk to Ranger, and turn my attention to my daughter. She actually wasn't out of bed yet because she's completely in love with the hotel bed. I rousted her up and we got moving.

We started our sightseeing, and I focused on her. This weekend must remain ALL about her. This is what she deserves. While we were driving, I got a text from Ranger.

"Am OK. Will call soon."

I replied and let him know I'd talked to his ex, and said I hoped he wouldn't be mad. Then, I waited for the call.

My daughter and I had a delicious lunch. I'm going to blog about this trip later, when I can tell the whole story at once and not have the convoluted catastrophe in the middle of it. Suffice it to say that I'm still astounded by this child.

When my phone went off with Ranger's ringer, the timing was good. My daughter was busy with some shopping, so her attention wasn't on me. I could talk.

He sounded completely exhausted. He hadn't slept. He'd spent all night watching everyone else, and thinking about me. He said he thought if he concentrated on me enough, I'd somehow get the vibe and know something was keeping him from contacting me, that something was wrong. I got the vibe loud and clear, I think.

The day before, when he returned to work from lunch, Mike was raising a stink about the register being out of balance. The problem was that Ranger's carefully prepared documentation was missing. Disappeared. And there was Mike, pointing the finger at Ranger and accusing him of stealing from the register.

Ranger is kicking himself for leaving the documentation where it could be found. And it seems like it was found by the person who caused the register to be out of balance (while Ranger was off-duty), and he was now deflecting the blame.

Mike actually hadn't stolen the money. He was inept with the register. But instead of admitting and correcting his mistake, he wanted Ranger to take the fall....and take his "documenting" of all of Mike's mistakes with him.

So, Ranger was arrested. His son was told he had 15 minutes to get his stuff and get out. He gathered what he could, then followed in his dad's car. He actually had to sleep in the car last night. He should have taken his mom's advice and called me!

Ransacking Ranger's apartment, Mike found his secret cash stash. The one he hides from his ex, so she can't claim it as her own. This is the money he makes from selling rocks to rock shops. (For those wondering, I know the stash is legit - I've seen the transactions.)

So, Mike produced this cash as "evidence" to his boss of Ranger's theft. The problem is that the boss ran register reports and couldn't find that large of a discrepancy. In fact, once he corrected all of Mike's errors, the register was off by $30. Mike insisted Ranger must have stolen it when he came back from lunch (i.e., after Mike had been there and could be blamed). The problem is that Ranger's pockets were emptied. No money in them at all.

The charges were being dropped, but Ranger is not a ranger anymore. Mike's lack of integrity has cost Ranger the job he dearly loves. Plus, he has to appear in court to get back the things that were taken from his apartment as "evidence." He was going to sort out that problem today, in addition to arranging to get his remaining stuff and finding a new place to live.

It appears my personal rollercoaster is back in gear.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Okay, so I might be....

....wrong. That might have actually been an imminent proposal.

In about two months, I have to go to another conference. In Las Vegas.

For a few days, Ranger has been giggling about an "Evil Plan" he's working on. He says that and does the "mwuhaahaahaaa!" thing.

Here's what little I knew, originally:

(1) He's driving with me to Las Vegas. We're leaving early so we can see things on the way.
(2) He was really touched by a scene in "Braveheart," where the romantic leads see no reason to wait to be together, so they go off and have a private wedding, something meaningful between the two of them, not meant for the world. Ranger was touched by the reasoning and the phrasing of the scene.

...I think you're following me here....

You might even have that shiver up your spine that I had, but I thought....nahhhh....he wouldn't....

But yeah....I learned what the "Evil Plan" was.

As he put it, "I feel like I've lost so much time in my life looking for you, and now that I've found you, I don't want to waste a moment more." Ranger was going to have everything in place ahead of time, so that while we were in Vegas, he would ask me to make the leap with him....and if I agreed, we'd have an official ceremony with just us....and then plan another for the rest of the world.

Okay....can everyone say it with me? WHOA.

So, I've been thinking. A lot. And I have two major concerns with this idea.

First, my ex married his second wife without telling anyone. The kids' opinions didn't matter, and neither did their presence. They met her on a Tuesday. Hated her. I talked to him the following Monday, when he asked what they thought. I was honest. His response? "That's too bad. I married her on Saturday." I do not want to make them feel how that did.

Second, before his divorce, Ranger had been planning to renew his vows with his now-ex in Las Vegas, during the same time frame that it-just-so-happens that we'll be there. I need to make sure this isn't driven by some sense of irony he has, that he would remarry during that time instead. And how much that would completely cheese off his ex.

So, I'm in deep thought. We know we need to talk about this, and he's totally open to my thoughts. I'll keep you posted, dear diary, on how the discussions go.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Constantly astounded... my children. Sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes not.

My son has been a struggle lately. I don't know if all teenagers tend to think this selfishly, but he's been over the top lately. His attitude tends to be harsh and dark. However, one thing happened recently that has smoothed out the edges and improved relations in many areas.

Son lost his iPod.

Now, he won't say how he lost it. I asked again the other day, and for a moment an embarrassed little grin flashed across his face. Then, he looked down and the mask fell again. "It's just gone, okay?"

Check. There's a story there, but I'm not getting it yet. I suspect that there's a teacher at school with a new iPod. I apologize to this individual for the truly sucky music on the thing, and I hope it doesn't put them in the bad mood it put my son in.

I had a horrible realization recently, though, that my attentions have been completely unbalanced lately. I don't mean with Ranger in the picture -- that's actually on a good schedule for my kids' sake. Ranger's days off are in the middle of the week. We cook dinner at my house, with the family, on Tuesday nights. We go out on Wednesday nights, while my kids are at their church activities. He goes back to Moab on Thursday. My weekends are completely open with my kids. No dates because Ranger works two hours away, Friday through Monday.

The attention problem is that my son's negativity soaks up all the energy I have. He's high maintenance because his behavior has been so out of line. He's been belligerent, difficult, dishonest, and destructive. We've been walking on eggshells. I have to watch him constantly. When I've told him "no" on something, it's become a horrendous argument. It's been unbelievably sad and hurtful to me.

A few things happened at once to help this, though. He lost his iPod, all on his own. He started playing his guitar with two groups of people: one group is headed by a man at church he considers "cool", and the other group is made up of kids who want to promote positive values through their music.

Yes, my son is highly influenced by his friends. I call it the Chameleon Effect. But it's working all right at the moment.

He's also going to spend a couple of weeks, right after school is out, helping my sister. She still doesn't have the use of her right arm and her husband (a Marine) is being sent out for a month. My mother is there helping now, and Son will go next week. They live simply. It'll be a good thing for him to see, and do.

Now that he's settling down a little, we tend to spend time enjoying him again. Then this realization hit me, along with the guilty.

In the shadow of all of this is my daughter. She's nearly 13 now. She's turning into a young woman. Her interests are maturing. About three weeks ago, she starting showing up in my room at bed time. And she hasn't gone back. She can't explain why she doesn't want to be in her room right now, but it didn't take long for me to see that she's sticking close to me. At the end of the day, she's craving Mommy Time.

So, I'm not arguing about her sleeping in my room for now. Her brother has sucked up so much attention during the day, so she's carved out the night as her own. It breaks my heart a little that this has happened, and I didn't notice sooner. She's an astounding kid. They both are. And I don't want either one to forget it or think otherwise.

I went to her school's end-of-year open house. They've been studying Africa. The kids had to select a topic relevant to Africa and do three projects on it. The hallway walls were covered with colorful posterboards on a variety of topics. Most were about what I call "friendly" topics. Industry, textiles, music, food, etc. Then, I spotted my daughter's neon-orange beacon.

She cut the poster into the shape of Africa, free-hand. I watched her do this and was astounded that her art skills had come so far. I really should learn to not be astounded by the talents of my kids, but they find a way to surprise me all the time. Even when I'm mad at Son, I'm astounded by him. Now, Daughter's topic astounded me.

Child Soldiers in Africa. She'd pasted a photo on the board, of a young boy holding a rifle as big as he was. His face was in a hateful grimace. On his back, though, was a backpack. A pink teddy bear backpack. The photo broke my heart. The poster broke my heart.

Her teacher had laptops set up, so parents could view the photo story projects that some of the children put together on their topic. Queued up on each screen was a splash page for one of the projects. A close-up of an African child's eyes, with a title over it. And my daughter's name.

The teacher was excited to see me. She gushed (sincerely) about Daughter's projects and grasp of her topic. She'd queued up my child's project because she wanted everyone to see it. Not just because of the quality of work, but because it was so astoundingly moving.

I sat and watched it. She'd built it in Windows Movie Maker. As the splash page faded, the opening notes of Nickelback's "If Everyone Cared" started. The images were perfectly synced with the words and pace of the music. "...iron bars can't hold my soul in..." was sung over an image of children behind a door of bars. The words she added were minimal, but powerful.

The teacher and I had tears in our eyes when it was finished. Then, she showed me my daughter's poetry. It's actually been included on the school's literary site, but I'm just going to copy it here, to wrap up this post.

The point here is this -- all of this creativity and growth in my daughter has been happening under the shadow of the turmoil in my son's life. I feel guilty because I've allowed my attention to be so divided, so consumed by the demanding lows and the welcome highs of one child's behavior, so that I've missed what's happening with my daughter.

Son is going to help my sister soon. When he does, my daughter and I are going to take a short trip together, to see the sights of Salt Lake City. She's excited. She wants to go to BYU, so we'll cruise through there. Son and I took a trip when he turned 12, so it's her turn now.

And now, the poem:

There is a place
Far, far away where you are,
Where I live.
The heat is unbearable,
The water is dry.
Everything is peaceful,
Heat beaming on us,
At home,
Doing schoolwork
Mother screamed,
Father yelled.
Outside I saw,
The looming enemy above their cold, bloodied bodies
Glaring at me with blood-shot eyes.
Taking me;
Taking me
To a place
Full of children
Both young and old.
Soon now.
All I knew,
There went,
There goes everything I loved.
A gun in my hands;
Bigger than my own body.
To be fearless--
To not be afraid of challenges
A challenge
Right before me.
As we hid,
I hid with these kids,
These kids who fight.
As we hide,
We hide from a village.
We attack.
The enemy, right there.
I shoot,
I shoot with a heavy gun;
The gun is bigger than my own body.
There goes their lives.
There goes my life.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finding what's important

Ranger has been through an emotional wringer lately. However, he's managed to boil things down to what's most important for his life goals. I have to admire him for that. I'm not always so focused. Here's what I mean.

He's been dealing with craziness from his ex, or "PsychoBimbo" as he's referring to her now. She keeps calling to ask his advice on her relationship. The one she broke up their marriage for. But she won't tell Ranger any details about him. She just calls the guy her "friend."

She's been saying is that Ranger doesn't know him, and that she's just started sleeping with the guy. Now, she keeps calling to say that having sex with this guy might have been a mistake. And that she thinks maybe divorcing Ranger was a mistake. He agrees, but is thankful for it now.

The other day, she dropped the bomb that the guy is a friend of Ranger's. One he knows she's been attracted to for about 10 years. A few things are falling into place, like the likelihood that this was a long-standing affair.

Why tell him this? Well, she's been trying to make his jealous, so he'll come back to her. It's not working, so now she's mad and trying to hurt him. And she DOES hurt him, but in the way you hurt when you know you've been a fool.

He holds his tongue better than I would, though. She's highly competitive with him. He's been vague about me, giving her sketchy details about what I do.

"I broke up with my friend," she said to Ranger last night.

"Okay," he said. He doesn't encourage conversation.

"Aren't you dating a teacher?" she asked last night.

"Yes," Ranger said. Technically, part of my job is to teach teachers.

"Yeah, well, I'm dating a principal now," she said, thinking she'd one-upped him.

Ranger started laughing. If he wanted to get into the pissing match, he'd tell her I'm actually in administration, too. In higher education.

She plowed on through. "Do you want to hear about it?" she asked.

"Not really," Ranger said. "Actually, I'd rather not have verbal contact with you at all."

"Fine," she said. She then showed her rage by hanging up on him. Thus, giving him what he wanted in the first place.

She's also refused to give him a copy of his divorce papers. He finally pulled them from the court docs online. That and a few other things like there was a child support revision hearing about two weeks ago, that he was never told about. Many falsified documents. And a record of her filing for divorce back in 1999...and he never knew.

He was FURIOUS. I mean....can you imagine? He called me, with a head of all kinds of vengeful things to do. I let him fume. Then, I let him think. And he calmed down. It boils down to this: under the law in his home state, if any fraudulent activity is proven in court, then the divorce is nullified.

He doesn't want that. So, he's not pursuing it.

"You've shown me something better," he said. "You've shown me how love should be. You've given me something real. I want my energy to go there, to us. Not to all this negative bullcrap." I'm quite proud of him, actually. It's tough to just let it go when you have so many reasons to be furious.

Last night, we were talking on the phone. He's exhausted by all of this, so he came to see me for his days off. It helped. He's in a hotel here, finally relaxing.

"Can I confess something," he asked.

"Sure you can," I said. I braced myself. What followed those words had never been good, in my experience.

"It's hard for me to not imagine our lives together. I mean, merging together. Into one."

I smiled, relieved.I'm so thankful for his tendency to be up-front. "I know," I said. "I imagine that a lot myself." And I do. Although I've said I am in no hurry for anything, it sure would be nice to have someone there at the end of the day, and in the chill of the night. I think of that and just have to say Someday....

I heard him exhale, like sigh of relief. "I'm glad to know that. I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking these things. I don't want to spook you, though. I know you've been through some bad stuff, and I understand you being wary."

"It's okay," I said. "You're not that guy, are you? You've been through bad stuff, too. You get where I'm coming from."

"Yeah, but that's the beauty of it, isn't it? I talk about things and you understand them, without me having to explain."

He's right. We're quite a pair. We've had similar experiences. Our thoughts and feelings tend to be similar. I'm more afraid to reveal them than he is. That just generally doesn't work out for me. Remember what happened with Fella? Yeah, that tends to smart.

On that note, we slept. The next morning, I got kids ready for school, did the Mom-Taxi thing, then knocked on Ranger's door. He was groggy when he answered, but very glad to see me.

"I've been thinking," he said. Another phrase I've learned to dread. He sat next to me on the edge of the bed.

"There's a lot of anger and negativity going on right now," he said. "But I don't want to focus on that. I don't want it to detract from what's going on with me. With you. This is so good that I just want to grab on with two hands and never let go. But that's scary to me, because I know you've been burned and you're gun-shy."

He paused. "But you are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You've saved me. And I don't want to lose that. I want you part of my life, always."

He moved his hand over mine, stroking the ring he gave me. "I gave you this as my promise to you, that you'll never have that hurt or worry again. I love you and will take care of you."

Ranger took a deep breath, looking down. "When I met you, I told you that I couldn't imagine being married again. But you've changed that. So....what I want to know is if, when the time is right in our lives...."

He finally looked up and directly into my eyes.

"...would you marry me?"

He phrased this very carefully. He's not asking for engagement, at the moment. Ranger wants to know if, when I think of our future, would I ever consider taking him as my husband?

After my initial surprise (which, I'm told, left me with a "priceless" look on my face), I said:

"I would love to be married to you." I threw my arms around him with complete abandon. "I can't imagine being without you."

And it's true. When we're together, it's bliss. When we're apart, it's agony. We just fit. I love every moment, and never want it to end. Now, I'm delighted beyond words to know that his heart is saying the same thing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small updates

Karl has been IMing me, all of a sudden. Like we've been chatting this whole time. He's still coming out here, and making plans to move here. When I reply, it's "good luck" or "that's too bad," when he's complaining. No hint of the romantic or a desire to meet when he's here. He thinks he can ignore me for weeks, and I'm just sitting here waiting for him to talk? Uhm, no. I don't do waiting well. I find....Rangers!

Greg called again. He's feeling guilty because his soon-to-be-ex-again had to find a job, since he's not coming back. She's working as a stripper. He also knows I'll be in town soon, but to work. We had this lovely bit of conversation:

"Hey, do you smoke?" he asked me.

"No," I said. I actually really abhor smoking. "Why do you ask?"

"Darn. I was hoping to get you high when you're here."

Oh. That type of smoking. "Well, I never have been, so that's not gonna happen."

Get a grip.

Old BF
has severely injured himself. Something was cooking on the stove and fell on his foot. He has second and third degree burns and is under doctor's orders to not be on it. The danger of infection is high. He's in extreme pain. I sure hope he takes care of it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Giving me rein

I had my first evaluation in my new job. Can you believe it's been a year? Actually, a little more.

My boss is pleased with me. I've oriented myself to the system here nicely. I've carved a niche on campus. I've made a name for myself here. I've created solid relationships with the faculty. They see me as an ally, but so does the administration. Where the two often clash, they don't in my office.

"What I'd like to see from you in the coming year is a shift in your role," he said. "You've built the foundation, now it's time to move ahead into a leadership role. Step outside the box. Push us. You have an idea, run with it. Push us hard."

I just nodded. I can do that...but boundaries exist. Toes can be stepped on, and sometimes those don't heal. And I do tend to be afraid to make a mistake and look stupid.

But my boss is a perceptive man. He knew this already. She smiled at me and said, "I actually look forward to the day when I can say to you, 'Dammit, Blogget! What were you thinking?' Then you get up the next day and do it all again."

He laughed. "At least, that's how I do it!"

So, in a horsewoman's terms, I've been given my head. I'm free to gallop at my own speed. And I'm expected to.

I work with one professor who is just innately difficult. He simply cannot follow instructions. He has to do it his own way, no matter what it is. Send him a form to use, and he changes it. Ask him for information, and he'll give you some of it. I wrangle with him often, but it stays friendly.

After our latest wrangling, he copied me on an email to my boss. The subject line was "Blogget is a superstar!" and the message was full of glowing compliments about working with me, the "superstar" on the campus (as he put it).

This was right after my evaluation. My boss's reply simply said, "Thank you for your support of our resident superstar."

Now that put a mighty smile on my face for the day. I'm at a full gallop now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A nice Mother's Day...and week

Mother's Day was...quiet. That's a blessing, these days. Two teenagers in the house, each of whom plays a LOUD INSTRUMENT. Quiet is a big blessing. A wonderful present!

And Ranger gave me a gift, too, although not for Mother's Day. It was a few days before, as we strolled around downtown. This is a quaint, artsy area of town, and I just love it. We ate lunch at the Indian restaurant and walked. My doctor said to make sure to move my back, so it doesn't get stiff. "Life is motion," he said. "And motion is life." Yeah, yeah, yeah....

A cool wind kicked up and blew through the narrow street. Ranger stopped off at his car and got his official ranger jacket for me to keep warm. I tucked into it, but it fit awkwardly.

"Something's in the pocket," I said, examining the problem.

Ranger grinned. "Oh, is there? You might just have to take it out."

He had a very self-satisfied look. I'd been set up. Another surprise was about to happen.

I reached in the pocket and felt what was in there.

A box.

A little box.

I pulled it out and took a look.

A little box from a jeweler's shop.

The kind rings come in.

I glanced up at him. "Open it," he said.

Inside was a silver band. The band's design wound through the twists of a Celtic knot. Ranger knows these knots are special to me. When done right, they have no end, no beginning. They are eternal.

All I could do was gasp.

He was grinning ear to ear. "Go on. Try it on." I didn't miss that he gestured to my right hand.

I did. A perfect fit. But how did he know that? He explained that while we were holding hands the other day, he'd wrapped a finger around mine, to measure. It had worked.

I hugged him. Kissed him. He said, "This is to always remind you that my love for you is like this knot. It has no end. It has no limits. And it's my promise that you are my one and only. You don't have to worry about that ever."

We continued our walk. In the chilly wind, I was blissfully unaware of the cold.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Too late....

I got a call from Greg the other day. Once again, he's doing horrible. He said, "Well, sorta horrible."

He's been in a world of panic lately. His car broke down (a $2,000 repair), so he's walking to work (two hour walk). He's broke. Utilities and rent are due. So, he gets home the other day and his mentally-ill wife is spiraling into an "episode." It seems she's been threatening suicide lately, saying, "If I had a way to kill myself, I would."

This explains why he never mentions her taking care of their son.

But on this day, the burdens were already too heavy. He asked her to try to be strong, for just one day. "Give me just one day," he said.

She went ballistic. Told him he was worthless (despite being her sole support and provider) and kicked his ass out of the house. HIS house.

He decides he's about done with all of this. The following day, she comes to his workplace and asks if he's coming back. He says no. He's had it.

She proceeds to try to beat the shit out of him. His manager restrains her while Greg calls the police. She's arrested.

"That's it," he says. "I'm finished. I'm done with her."

Our conversation ended there, because he was at work and needed to go. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I hoped to get them answered today, but he was not at work. That's usually a bad sign for him. I need to talk to him again because there's things we need to get clear, like....

Darlin', I care about you, but don't plan on running away to Colorado....the place that was here for you has been filled.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What a pain in the....

...back. Ouch.

(By the way, sorry to flood you all with FOUR new posts at a time! I've been working on them and finally hit "publish" today.)

I woke up Tuesday morning with an slight ache in my back. It's not unusual. I have bone spurs on my lower spine and sometimes they irritate the muscles.

I went about my business that day, which included a couple of meetings, general work-related crap, and hanging out with Ranger. But by the time my 4:00 meeting arrived, I was in some serious pain. My back was locked up with horrendous pain. Pain I haven't felt in years.

I didn't make it to the 4:00 meeting. I could barely drive myself home.

Ranger was there as my mother prepared dinner. I put a heat pack on my back and took some meds. I hate taking those meds. I hate feeling groggy and not completely in control of myself.

But life goes on. The next morning, I still had to get kids to school. Instead of going back home, I went to Ranger's room.

I forgot to mention that I also burned myself seriously while cooking Shepherd's Pie for Ranger the week before. And it was looking baaad.

He tucked me into his bed. Massaged pain-relieving gel into my back. Doctored and bandaged my burn. And held onto me as I drifted in and out of meds-induced sleep. When it was time for me to pick up kids and take them home, he got me on my way and promised to be over at my house soon.

He got some delicious Indian food for me for dinner and sat with me as we watched one of my favorites shows: Ghost Hunters. It also happens to be one of his least favorite, so this was indeed a labor of love.

In the time before he came over, Ranger searched the 'net for pics of my beloved wolves. He printed a few for me, found a cute wolf nightshirt for me, a new wolf t-shirt, and an irresistibly-soft stuffed wolf for me. He hoped to brighten my day.

He didn't realize that taking such good care of me that day had already brightened it. His kindness meant more to me than he knew. I'm not used to that. My ex always left the house when I didn't feel well. Since my divorce, I'd become used to taking care of myself, by myself. Having someone else wrap me up in such loving care is indeed very special and meaningful to me.

You know, Ranger mentioned one day that he'd laid awake puzzling over the fact that we haven't argued about anything yet. He tried to think of all the things he might do to piss me off, so he could avoid them.

Is this something I should worry about? Methinks not. I'll just enjoy it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

It's Spring time!


The sun is shining! The birds are singing! The grass and trees are green again! It's warm outside! Pull out the shorts and t-shirts, and put away the jeans and sweaters!

Wait. (insert screeching brakes here)

Oh yeah. I live in Colorado. That's what yesterday looked like. Today, on the 1st of May, 2008, it looks like this:

No freakin' kidding. My kids are soooo pissed....