• My dad called me a little while ago to let me know that my Great Aunt “Big Helen” is getting ready to have surgery. She has apparently fallen and broken her hip again. Damn. She already has it pretty tough, so this is not good.
    I know I have posted about my Aunt before, but I couldn’t find anything relevant doing a search.
    I love my real grandmother very much, but growing up I always considered Big Helen my Grandmother. As a kid, she just seemed more “grandmotherly”. My little brother and I would spend weekends with her as often as we could, and we spent a big portion of summer vacation with her as well. It is a pain in the ass for both parents to be working (trust me, I know) when the kids are out of school, so I am sure that it also helped my parents out immensely.
    She was the first adult that I ever smoked around, and she was the first person to let me drive as well. I spent my 14th or 15th summer vacation driving her around her neighborhood in Florida. Was pretty cool. Not that I really needed it. Living in Atlanta I mostly used public transportation or walked, so didn’t even get my license until I was 20 or 21. Right before I got married.
    Like everyone else in the world she has issues. Since I haven’t had the opportunity over the last few years to deal with her or my grandmother on a regular basis like the rest of my family, that colors my judgement, and she was always bigger than life to me, particularly as a child.
    I know that one day she is going to pass away, and I hope that she gets to meet God like she believes. It hurts to think about losing anyone in my family.

  • Tomorrow is my dad’s 60th birthday. I know because he and my mom are both 20 years older than I am, which sucks because that means I won’t be a teenager anymore at the end of the year when mine rolls around :)

    I guess it is a southern thing, but my parents will always be mama and daddy. Kind of funny I guess.

    My family and I have a very weird relationship. We are not very close at all, though I would like to be. My father and I had a love/hate relationship growing up. While not very strict, he was very authoritarian, and I was very much a rebel. I got into a lot of trouble, and he yelled a lot, and I just could never talk or share my feelings with him or my mom. I had to sit through years of family counseling with them, from the time I was very young until I hit about sixteen, which is the first time I moved out of the house.

    I am friends with both of my parents and I love them very much. That is about all I can really say about our relationship. Sometimes we will go months without speaking to each other, and then just get together. Neither of them were ever “children” people, and probably never should have had kids. My dad is much more kid oriented than my mom though. He will get down and play with my kids and they all love him, particularly the girls. Chris did not get to see them very much until the last year or two because they lived in Arlington, VA for several years, up until last year. It was nice to have them move back to Georgia.

    I guess I did manage to pick some stuff up from my parents, some of it I am not particularly proud of. Their money management skills suck shit, and I have worked very hard to keep from being like that, and still have to work hard at it every day. While not poor growing up, we certainly were not well off, and sometimes did not have money for school clothes, things to do, or sometimes even Christmas presents. I always hated that as a kid. Being the one with no money, and Goodwill clothing tends to get your ass picked on. Nowadays, I prefer to shop for my work clothes at consignment stores whether I can afford expensive clothing or not. Hell, it’s just more economical. He and my mom are not going to have very much for retirement unfortunately. He is a smart dude, but has always put the majority of his retirement into the company retirement plan where he happened to be working. He started out with Western Electric, and took the voluntary layoff when the Bells split up. He would have a small pension with them, except for the fact that Western Electric has evolved into Lucent, which is basically crap now. He probably will never see any money from that. I know that he tried a couple of different jobs after that, selling life insurance, but that did not work out real well. I know he did that for at least a few years, don’t really remember how long though. I was pretty fucked up at that time, literally, on just about anything that I could get. My nickname was “the drug” because if it was something new, or we hadn’t tried it yet, I was the guinea pig. About 25 years ago, he went back to work in electronics and computer, for MCI. We all know what happened to MCI. If not, they were bought out by Worldcom, who then turned around and fucked everyone that worked for them, including my dad and his 20 years of investing in MCI and Worldcom stock. oops, bad move there. I don’t have a lot of investments, but I put aside a little every month into mutual funs, and Stephanie has her teacher retirement as well as some annuities that I want to get moved elsewhere. She will get around half of her highest monthly salary as pension when she retires, not including what is in annuities or my mutual funds. Hopefully we can get back in a position soon where I can start putting money into my own stock soon. Historically my companies stock has earned 15-20% over the last 25 years, and never lost money. Ever. I currently have about 18k in options, but it will be a few years before I can exercise those.

    When my mom and dad moved back here, he went to work for HP, handling a boatload of servers and heading up tech support. HP was handling the tech support for Verizon, who oh by the way, just recently fired HP. Luckily my dad was hired by Verizon. I hate the fact that he is probably going to have to work until he can’t anymore. Hell, they may end up living with us in a few years.

    I guess there is still a bunch of shit bottled up inside that I have never talked about, but now it doesn’t seem so pressing as it used to. Time heals all, or some shit like that.

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  • Todays Pick

    Originally uploaded by rmiles.

    The jabeneros and jalepenos should be ready soon.

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