Sometimes, you just have to say it.

Indeed. There comes a time where you simply have to say, “To Hell with the consequences. This needs to be said.”

Today is THAT day.

You see, I work for Walmart. And yes I know the company has an issue with whatever it deems to be “Negative Publicity.” Trust me, in only three years there I can honestly say if they want to avoid “negative publicity” they should stop doing stupid stuff.

In case you have been in a cave, or maybe under a rock, or possibly walkabout in the outback for the last four plus months, we have a little pandemic going. Indeed this COVID-19 is here, and it’s here to stay.

Some stuff happened this year that hasn’t happened before. Well okay technically that is always the case. But you know what I mean.

  1. Walt Disney World and Disneyland as well as all related parks closed to the public. Not reduced hours, closed. They were joined by Universal Studios and all the other amusement parks.
  2. The cruise industry ran aground. No sailing for fun and leisure. Ports closed and as of this writing, many still are. Crew members were stuck on the ships as well as some passengers. No one would let them dock to get off. While passengers went home, the crews were not so fortunate.
  3. Whole companies went out of business or closed a large number of stores. Chain restaurants were very hard hit.
  4. Schools closed and the children went to a distance learning program. Parents lost jobs because someone had to be home with them.
  5. Sporting events at all levels were canceled. As of this writing we still do not have a Stanley Cup Champion in the NHL. Other places, teams played in empty stadiums.
  6. Stores and medical centers ran out of masks and gloves and well, just about everything else. Imagine your doctor can’t see you, at a time like this, because he can’t buy the masks and gloves his staff needs.
  7. The list goes on.

“Okay. So what does this have to do with Walmart?”

Great question. Why not ruminate, while I illuminate the issue.

First. Walmart took quiet a while to decide that it should not keep it’s stores open twenty four hours a day in this climate. The delay in closing early is understandable to a degree. After all this has never happened before in the modern age. So being a little slow on the decision is understandable.

Around the same time, Walmart made it possible for the Associates and Managers at the stores to take a short term Leave of Absence (LOA) if they had concerns about the virus and the spread of it. This is no small step. From the long term people I talked with, it has not always been easy to get an approved LOA.

They allowed an initial two weeks, which based on what we knew then was a prudent amount of time. I know this, because I myself took the 2 weeks.

Walmart mandated that under the CDC guidelines all Associates had to wear a face covering while on the clock and preforming their duties.

Then came the “Social Distancing” followed by one directional shopping. You know, go up this aisle and down the next. Keep space between you and others.

They even suggested that customers wear a face covering when in the store.

They forgot one little issue that many of the store Associates company wide could have told them.

A lot of our customers either can not read, or simply do not care.

Some wore masks. Some followed the arrows. The majority, did not.

Now here we are in the middle of July. Walmart has announced that as to the 20th of July all customers must have a face covering to enter one of our stores.

Yipee! They are finally doing something to help keep their associates and other customers safe from this. Right?

The answer is, no. Not really they aren’t.

“If the customer refuses to wear a mask, let them continue to shop.” – Walmart Health Ambassador and Management Talking Points.

So wear one through the door, and just take it off. That’s it.

So the question becomes, why bother at all. If they don’t need to keep them on, there is no point to wearing them at all.

Hard to take Walmart seriously when they say they are keeping people safe.

An Open Letter to a Dear Friend.

So here we are at the end of 2017. I am writing this to get my own thoughts out.

I have had a lot of time in the past weeks to reflect on us. On what happened, and how we got there. And I have come to realize a few things.

First, when I say “US” I simply mean two individuals. Not a couple. In all honesty, and in my opinion, we never really were a “couple.” There was you and there was me and we got together and kept each other company and occupied from time to time. But there never really was a “US.”

It’s a sad statement, and one I have a hard time coming to grips with, but nonetheless a true one.

If we were a “couple” then some things might have been very different. For example, you most likely wouldn’t have gotten bent out of shape when I left my toothbrush at your house. That right there was a Red Flag I missed. Or when I did something like the time I put gas in your car during your move, instead of “Oh. Hey, thanks” I got, “What are you doing? I can pay for my own gas.” Not exactly what one might expect from a couple.

The night on Ft Myers Beach when we got back together was a huge moment for us as a couple, it opened up the door for a whole new level of our relationship, too bad we blew it.

And I mean WE. Both of us have our share of the blame.

Starting with our lack of communication. Like we both said, we worried too much about pissing each other off and not enough about being honest. Well, now that we are not even calling ourselves a couple I can certainly treat you and speak to you like I do my other friends.

There were times when you pissed me off. And no, I don’t mean the gas thing. That was piddly shit and over 30 seconds later. I mean when stop and think about some of our talks. When did you, or I for that matter EVER talk about us in the future? You had your plans that you told me about and it was great you did. But none of them ever included me. Never included us. It was you and your plans.

Yes, that pissed me off. That “US” meant so little that you never seemed to entertain the idea of a “US” in the future.

I guess since you didn’t seem to have a “US” in the future I just figured I should stop thinking about a “US” in the future as well.

That was hard to do. Really hard. I felt closer to you than I have to anyone in years. I told you things that many of my friends don’t know about me. And trust me when I say that opening up is not easy for me.

You said that I didn’t know what your favorite flower was. You are right. But why? Well you never told me. We never got to that level really. I mean I could ask you who is my greatest influence. Who do I admire the most? And I bet you couldn’t answer it. One more symptom of how we failed.

There were times when I needed you and you weren’t around. As I am sure there may have been a few when you might have needed me. But since we never told each other, no blame can be assigned really.

Now since I am being honest and really at this point have nothing to lose. Allow me to address an issue that has bothered me. To speculate if you will on an issue I have where you are concerned.

I look back and can not help but think that somewhere, back there in the past, you got your heart crushed. I don’t mean broken. I mean crushed. And that has become the reason you choose isolation. It’s hard to get hurt hiding behind your wall, or in your bunker, as it may be. Trust me I know. My wall is huge and even the Chinese are in awe of it. It has taken me a lot of effort to chip away at it. Hell, it took me years to realize I built it and that I never put in a door.

Yeah, it is comfy in here. I tell myself all the time that this is it. This is where I need to be. Alone. Solitude. Isolation. That in here no one can hurt me. No one can break my heart. No one can fuck with me. In here I am invincible. I am the Punisher, Batman, and the ultimate soldier all rolled into one.

It is all BULLSHIT.

I have come to realize, that this is not where I am meant to be. This is not comfortable. Safe? Yes. Comfortable? Fuck no. I look around and realize I am staring 48 in the eye. I probably have more years behind me than ahead. So, I have had enough of this wall. Enough of the bunker. Sure, I might get hurt. But what the hell. It has happened before, and I survived. I learned. I adapted.

I have come to realize that I do need to open more. To be more honest about who I am and what I want. Not to be the timid, and scared little child I was.

If you read my Facebook posts you know that recently an old friend of mine died. She was younger than me and she is gone now. A few years back another old friend of mine died. That made me realize that I have no reason to hold back anymore. I need to say what I want and need to say and to, most importantly, LIVE.

You did help with my learning this. And with my decision to stop chiseling away at the wall I spent decades building. I have no time to chisel away. So, I will resort to what I know. I’ll blow the mudderfucker up. If I get hurt. So be it. I have decided that I, for one, am going to my grave having lived.

You talked about making memories when we discussed the cruise idea. Well, great idea and I think I will. Yes, making memories with Mariah is important. But so is making my own.

So, I will get back into scuba diving and be learning to kayak (thanks for that by the way) and living my life outside the wall.

Because you know what Mi Amigo? I have learned a very valuable lesson from this experience. Well okay, several lessons.

  1. I can still love and care about somebody. Other than Mom and Mariah.
  2. There is a whole world out there that needs to meet me. (Hell yes, I am funny and cute and all that)
  3. Pain fades. Scars tell a story. A life without scars was never really lived. (Seriously. Tell me you didn’t have fun trying snorkeling?)
  4. Pain and loss can be great teachers. If we choose to let them be.
  5. Life is too damned short to just work and pay bills and stumble through. So, life better watch its ass. Because here I come.

If any of this pisses you off, just know I must ask, “So what?” I mean we did agree to be open and honest with each other. What the hell do we have to lose that we haven’t already?

In closing of what started as simple little paragraph or two, allow me to say this.

I love you Mi Amigo. I am still and ALWAYS will be your friend. Even if others say I am crazy for doing it, so what? I make my choices and I live with them. I choose to be your friend.

I thank you for the lessons you helped me learn. Even the ones you never knew you were teaching me. I thank you for the shelter when it was needed. I thank you for all that you have shared and hope you, and I will share more in the future.

For now, I am off to live life. To ride this crazy ass roller coaster for all the bastard has. Feel free to join if you want.

But whatever happens, I do hope that God watches over you and your family and keeps you from harm.

Blog Post 1. Navigation

Greetings.

Well if you are here I do hope you will take a moment to read through this. I may wind up being a bit lengthy, as there is a lot going on right now.

First off let me say I am not one who believes that 2017 was so terrible. Helly yes it had its bad times. But tell me what year doesn’t?

Some of us lost people we know and loved this year. But we are still here and hope is too so we are ahead of the game.

For some of us, it was a year of contrasts. And that is where I fall in.

2017 started out like most others. Hope, optimism, and a sense of renewal. Along the way, I lost touch with some people and reconnected with others.

I started a new job just after the halfway point in the year and thought, “This is great.” Little did I know what lay ahead for me.

The new job meant more money coming in and more opportunity to do things. But it was not all that I wanted.

My relationship with a special person ended. No that’s not right t didn’t end, it changed. After nearly two years we were no longer a couple. And yes, it hurt like hell. I was down. I mean I got really low.

BUT my friends, it did not end there. No instead it forced me to look harder at myself. To try to answer the questions, “What the hell is wrong with me?” and  “Why does no one want me?”

Anyone who knows me well knows that when I get down I listen to a lot of music. This time was no different.

Some Metallica and Iron Maiden in the car to help release the anger I felt.  Some Adell, yes I have eclectic tastes in music, for the sad times.

Hell, I found myself going back to Garth Brooks and gaining a new understanding of some of his stuff.

From, “The Dance” and remembering that there was a lot of good times and great memories to hang onto and cherish.

To “Standing Outside the Fire” and the reminder that life can be rough, but the fighters will keep going and not just stand outside the fire, but jump in and risk it all.

To “When You Come Back to Me Again” reminding me that while this ship is lost and being tossed about there is a lighthouse glowing to find my way back to safe harbor.

But it was the song,  “The River” that most inspired me and is the reason for the title of this blog post. “There’s bound to be rough waters. And I know I’ll take some falls. But with the good Lord as my captain. I can make it through them all…” A good lesson.

In the midst of this, I found myself watching the movie “Rocky Balboa.” I know trust me I know, it was just on okay. But the scene I will always remember is of him and his son standing on the corner. And Rocky telling him like it is, “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Hmm, who would have imagined that a Rocky movie would tell me exactly what I needed to hear at that moment, That lesson that it was time to get up off the floor and drive forward. Life was still there and there will surely be more hits coming my way. But the choice to stay down or get up is always mine. And as a Dad, I have an example to set, so I rise. As a man, I have an example to set, so I rise. I’ll take the hits because the alternative sucks and I can allow myself to do it.

“So I will sail my vessel ’til the river runs dry.”

Just keep sailing. The bad days happen, but so do the good ones.

And if that person I spoke of earlier reads this I want you to know, I love you, my friend. Just differently and as your friend. There were a lot of good times for us and I hold those memories as cherished. I thank you for the support and the lessons learned.

And since I did a lot of quoting here, I close with this, “How Do Like Me Now?”