Let me just say this.. JOB HUNTING SUCKS!! There, I said it.. that felt good. In the middle of teaching skiing, I sometimes realize that this life of altitude and fun needs to be offset with a “paying” job.. They DO pay me to teach skiing, and the benefits of being around super cool instructors most of the week is energizing… and you can’t beat the views.. It’s just that sometimes I slip back into the mind set of, “wow.. what happened??” I’m technically unemployed.. and NOBODY is calling me back?!? (that’s hard to swallow.. go ahead, insert joke here..) This week I learned that the old station in Houston just hired my replacement. I know the guy, and he’ll do well. He’s a smart programmer and has a huge Rock background.. just a little weird to hear about your replacement.

As much as I’m really enjoying the ride as much as I can, I do start to feel a little discouraged with my past successes and knowledge not playing as big a role as I had hoped, and I have also realized that I’m not good at being patient. The house in Sugar Land hasn’t sold, no real job offers.. blah, blah, blah…

You know I haven’t even written about Emi for a while, or people I’ve met.. hmmm.. Okay!? here we go..

This past week I had the opportunity to speak with a fellow instructor at Brighton. I have seen this guy before, but not really spoken to him. His story is interesting. He’s an early 50’s looking guy.. (age, not era) who lost his job in Florida a few months back. Because of the company downsizing, and a series of other unforeseen events.. he was forced to take out bankruptcy. He tells me that he was used to making 200K+ for the last 24 years and had a lot of stuff. Now he has downsized to 4 bills a month. Rent, food, utilities and gas. AND.. he laughs and smiles about it! I asked him what if anything does he miss about his past life.. his answer? Being able to go out to dinner, take a trip, or buy gifts without having to think about what our account balance is. “BUT..” he says, “I’m laughing more, smiling more and enjoying life more”.. he goes on to tell me that he doesn’t sweat the big stuff anymore..”cuz there ain’t any big stuff anymore (laugh)” My new hero… he was an executive for some high tech company.. and there aren’t a lot of those jobs just hanging around. We of course talked about how life changes force you to focus on different priorities and how you learn that you probably needed it anyway… almost as if life/god/universe forced you to take another look. Hmmm.. I seem to be surrounded with people teaching me about,  me.. has this always been the case and I was just too busy to listen??

“OK.. GOD/UNIVERSE/LIFE.. YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION NOW!! I’M LISTENING… ”

Now I need to learn to “hear” the subtle messages around me and keep moving forward with this free wisdom.

Emi has totally jumped into the school and the new strange culture here. She even has friends contacting her from here and from Texas too. She has lately started into a new behavior that has taken me by surprise. I have noticed that she has started to try and “charm” me into compliance… not working.. let me explain. I took her to the mall to just get both of us out of the condo for an hour the other day. While there of course she pointed out how “cute” this or that was.. as she noticed how this wasn’t working, she shifted gears to mentioning how “mom” loves this or that and how they wear the same size now.. almost. THEN.. when we got back home, she became another person altogether.. Lelani walks into the room and suddenly I’m no longer the center of her “charm” and manipulation. I’m actually a bit of an annoyance it seems.. hmm, what is this? Her whole attitude changed, now she and her mother have a “girl connection” and I’m just the annoying father figure… weird. She didn’t act this way as I was buying her a hot chocolate at the mall and talking about why things were “cute”… hmm.. always interesting, always a constant reminder of why animals in the wild eat their young before they turn 15.. because you become part of the food chain at that point.

This week I also made a trip over to the storage unit with Lelani.. all those over whelming feelings of “holy shit” came over me again.. looking at all our treasures stacked up and some just thrown into such a confined space.. wow.. The up side? I don’t really miss most of those items, is this a sign? Later that night we put up the Christmas tree and tried for a good hour or so to get all the lights to work… we got at least 3/4 of the tree to light up.. damn lights. We gave up and started putting our decorations on the tree. Now, our tree has no theme, or style.. it’s really all our memories.. every ornament has a story. Like the first ornament that we got when we were married, this one always goes near the top of the almost lighted tree, next to the ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ santa hat on the top. We have decorations from all the cool places we’ve visited, along with a few funny items.. like a rubber chicken my Mom gave me years ago (this always goes inside the tree, on the branches), ornaments from our little doggy friends that have since passed away (these always make me cry).. in fact, most of the decorations make me emotional. It’s a trip down memory lane I guess, some sad, some exciting, some just plain and some actually involving planes.. seriously. We have a couple of planes in there too. Kids old school projects and past vacations… they’re all there on the tree. So I guess the theme is.. US! We’re the theme.. kind of cool really. It changes slightly every year too.. new ornaments this year are from Texas and Buc-ee’s..

This week has also been filled with unusual practice for the Jon Schmidt shows coming up. I don’t have the ability to set up my drums and practice for the sold-out shows we have this month… so I’ve been practicing on pillows.. it’s true.. pillows and lots of listening to the songs we’re playing this year. This is always a cool experience.. my once a year moment of being a rock star.. or at least backing up a local Rock star.. Jon is a cool guy and an amazing musician. i’m lucky to play with him.. in the back of my mind I think that maybe he’ll find someone better and thank me for my time with him over the years. Some day it will happen.. until then, I’m thrilled to ride that ride. Music was my first love.. and I miss it.

Another cool experience I had this week was snowshoeing with an old friend. George Spargen is one of those old souls that has friends wherever he goes. George is a pilot and outdoor lover. I first met George in the late 90’s as I was thinking about finishing my pilots license. He took me up in his little Cherokee 140 and let me do some landings and got me hooked again. Later that year we flew back to Iowa in a small plane to look at a plane I wanted to buy. George is also a aircraft mechanic, so we did the pre-purchase inspection.. I later baught the plane and flew it back to Utah with George. when we moved to Texas, George flew our little plane out to Texas for me. Over the years we have kept in touch by phone and texting.. George just turned 32.. do the math.. he was in his early 20’s when I met him. We went to his marriage a couple years back.. just a cool guy.  He has been one of those people that has always pushed me.. flying, mountain biking and now snowshoeing… and he doesn’t go slow for anything. Damn near killed me once on a mountain bike. He is now an airline pilot flying RJ’s (regional jets) for the Delta connection, and loving his 3 days on 4 days off schedule.

George on the showshoeing trek at Butler peak..

So this weekend we went snowshoeing up Big Cottonwood canyon… we went to dog lake. Not a bad hike in the Summer, in the Winter it’s a bit more challenging with the snow and ice. George is like a damn mountain goat, this guy hauls ass straight up the trail, only to slow down and wait for me at times. I ‘thought’ I was in good shape… THOUGHT! Now I have a new bar to reach.. keeping up with George, who later told me he does this 3 or 4 times a week, and “I’m welcome to join him”.. probably need to take him up on this… It’s all good right??

George has gotten more philosophical in the past few years. As we spent the 3+ hours hiking around in the snow, we talked about a lot of things.. life, marriage, kids, jobs, the amazing scenery… and when we turned to future, George got serious about not wanting to change him freedom. His idea is to keep his current schedule of flying 3 days a week so he can play 4 days a week… dude! That’s it!! How can I get this!??!?  Almost like being a stay at home dad… without the stay at home part.. or the kids part.. chicks have been doing this for centuries!! Why can’t dudes do it too?? George said this a couple of times, “I never want to work, where I DON’T want to live”.. I get that.. loud and clear. I need to figure this out..

New goal…

How can I laugh more, smile more, play more, exercise more… AND make a living at the same time?!?!?

Hmmm.. I need to take Georges theory and make it work for me…. 3 days on.. 4 days to play outdoors..

Butler peak.. looking back toward Salt lake City

I’m listening…..

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