Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Seven Things Quiz (for MsN.)

Seven things you plan to do before you die!!

1. Own a boat
2. Go to Egypt
3. Take my Mom to Italy
4. Take my dog to the ocean
5. Make someone happy
6. Be someone's soulmate
7. Have a pool to swim in at night

Seven things you can do!!
1. Play foosball
2. Say "go to your place" in German
3. Drive Fast
4. Think
5. Laugh
6. Play Frisbee with my dog
7. Play the drums and trumpet

Seven things you can't do!!!
1. Dance
2. Quit my job
3. Truly express myself to the one's I love
4. Trust people easily
5. Lie to my Girlfriend
6. Clean my garage without help
7. Organize stuff

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex!! (hehe)
1. Brain
2. Sense of Humor
3. Heart
4. Lips
5. Eyes
6. Hair
7. Legs

Seven things you say most!!!
1. "I'm sorry"
2. "I hate my job"
3. "I like you a whole heck-of-a-lot"
4. "How much do you need?"
5. "Bailey, NO"
6. "Bailey, I love you"
7. "Wassup"

Seven celebrity crushes!!!
1. Jennifer Beals
2. Neve Campbell
3. Rosie O'Donnell
4. Amy Wynn-Pastor
5. Michelle Clunie
6. Erin Daniels
7. Shakira (Sha-Hottie!)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fly Like an Eagle

Tonight I'm going to see the Steve Miller Band. They Rock.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Contingency Plan

OK, anyone familiar with me knows I am usually a clear headed thinker and decision maker, but lately, in my personal life, I’m a disaster. I'm so guarded I can't make rational decisions. My thought processes are clouded by fear and the decisions I make reflect my impaired visibility.

So, you may ask, "Koog, why are you so foggy?" Well, for the first time in my life, I'm vulnerable. As I've mentioned before, I've met someone that I care about more deeply than I ever believed I could and have entrusted her with my heart, a part of me that has never before been so exposed to another person.

In my previous relationship, my heart was not at risk in the same way. First of all, I was way too young to understand the difference between lust and love. Once I figured out that the lust + time= resentment; 12 years had passed. The Ex and I ended the relationship and started to rebuild our lives alone.

Sure, I dated after the break-up and even thought I was in love once, but I wasn't. I object of my affection was an emotionally unavailable woman living 3000 miles away. I knew that she would not chip away at the wall I’d built around myself. She was not a threat and when it was over (or should I say when it stalled out) I was not hurt, just disappointed that I had misjudged her for so long.

So, what does all this sappy, analytical crap have to do with the title of today's posting, “Contingency Plan?” Well, let me explain.

As you may have gathered in the previous post, I am gearing up to leave my current place of employment and move on to my own business. After much internal struggle, soul searching, arguments, conversations and the appearance of 3 new gray hairs, I decided I needed to begin the professional "break-up" and call a meeting with my boss.

During this time of angst, the Girlfriend was gone on vacation. Although she knew of the work issues prior to her departure, I tried to keep her vacation free from stress and leave her out of the day-to-day madness that had become my job. Due to travel schedules, my 0ne-on-one with the bossman had to be last week. This was my opportunity to begin the separation. Of course, I was nervous to have the conversation with him, but I had to do it PDQ to begin a transition plan.

But the Girl was gone for a few more days. I had to tell her about the decision I had come to, but how? I had gotten used to seeking her counsel on matters like this. She's so level headed. I have so much respect with her ability to asses a situation, think about possible solutions, foresee any consequence and make a decision. Read the previous post on buying the new car. She had great insight on what to buy.

It was not just her counsel I was worried about, it was her reaction to my unilateral decision. Would she think I was being irrational or impulsive? Would she want to be with someone that was taking such a risk? Would she see that this was the opportunity of a lifetime and I was thinking of our future by taking the risk now rather than later? Would she end it?

I could answer all but one of the above questions with rational answers, but that last question remained unanswerable: Would she end it? Just then the fog rolled in. How could I let myself be so vulnerable? Why did I let her have control over my heart? How did I get so exposed? I had to have a plan to protect myself, a contingency plan.

So, I came home from work and talked to my ultimate confidante, my neighbor. She and I have known each other for only a year, but she knows me better than most people. I told her about my situation and she told me not to worry about it. The Girl was better than that. She liked me a whole heck of a lot and it had nothing to do with my employment, she would support me no matter what. This girl was different; the neighbor said wisely, I need to have faith in her and in our relationship.

After listening to her sage advice and completely ignoring it, I began to formulate my contingency plan. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to contact Happy Ending.

Happy Ending and I were never in a relationship, per se, but we were seeing each other on and off for over 1.5 years. Kind of like friends with benefits, until she told me how she felt about me and the future she saw for us. I explained that I did not feel the same way about her and probably never would. We've remained friends, although we don't see each other much any more. The Girl and I ran into her a few months back. Happy Ending knew immediately this was different. She congratulated me, wished me well and has stayed away. Knowing the depth of her feelings, this was an amazingly kind and selfless act that I know I would never be capable of. She's an amazing person and has one of the purest hearts I know.

So, back to the story... In the fog of fear, I ignore my neighbor's advice, and call Happy Ending. I immediately regret doing this. She answers the phone, a moment of clarity sets in, we talk briefly and superficially. All I can talk about is the Girlfriend. I ask her to go to dinner with us next week. She sounds fine with it. We exchange goodbyes and hang-up.

My neighbor comes over to hang with me. I can't tell her that I've called Happy Ending because she'll open a can of whop-ass on me for being so stupid, so we just hang out. The Girlfriend calls and I break the news about my impending self-employment to her. She's completely unphased by the whole turn of events. She agrees that this is the right thing to do. She's incredibly supportive and full of confidence that everything will be fine. I tell her that I had a contingency plan, and I can here the confusion in her voice. She asks if she’d ever given me a reason to doubt her support, I reply “no.” And she really had never given me a reason to doubt her.

Filled with happiness, I forget that I contacted Happy Ending, until last night.

During our walk with the dog, I finally come clean about my contingency plan and explain that we may be going out to dinner with Happy Ending later this week. I can see in her eyes she’s disappointed in me for doubting her. She told me I was a loser, smiled at me and gave me the “you just got a pass” look. In a weird way,I think she understand why I do the things I do.

I always say, “Koog, it's ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them,” and I did learn a few valuable ones this time:
--It's ok to feel vulnerable and scared when dealing with matters of the heart
--Trust and faith in your significant other is essential
--Always listen to your Neighbor
--My Girlfriend is right, I am a loser

Friday, August 19, 2005

Swimming to shore

It's hard to leave something you've been a part of for a number of years. As soon as the decision is made to move on from something you've spent a significant amount of time building, you get nostalgic. Maybe it's not that bad? Maybe the environment will recover? No, none of these things will improve.

I'm faced with this situation now. I've been with something for a few years, worked tirelessly to make it better, took it to the pinnacle, watched it nearly crumble and now need to make the hard decision to move on.

Personally, I need to be challenged and this situation lent itself to that perfectly. Facing multiple, seemingly insurmountable, intellectual obstacles was fun to me. Everyday was unique. Everyone on the team was brilliant and dedicated. Each day we faced different challenges, dealt with difficult personalities, but we were all committed to a common goal: personal and professional growth with monetary rewards for all. We were pure-hearted capitalists.

But over the past year, it's been different. The challenges changed and the goal shifted to a money-only focus. Gone were the haute intellectual battles fought with strong esprit de corps. They were replaced with personality conflicts and hidden agendas. No one stepping up when there was a problem, instead it was a quick retreat with index fingers pointed toward the closest colleague.

I can't function in this type of environment. Actually, I won't function this way. Of course, I can play the political games and am usually quite savvy at it. But for what? It's not like I'm politicking with intellectual Olympians here, it's more like playing chess with a bunch of Uno players. Maybe I'm arrogant? I am. I admit it. But I can't play that game.

My team felt the same way. I'm watching them leave one by one. Nostalgic about past successes, but unwilling to fight another battle for a seemingly endless war, they walk away. One at a time. To new positions, to new cities, to new lives.

Will I ever be as smart as I was with these brilliant people behind me? Probably not. Will I ever have a team that offered so much support, and sometimes tough-love? No.

Heraclites once said "you can never step into the same river twice."

I'm drenched and am swimming to shore. I hope the people I find on whatever beach I land are as amazing as those I swam with for so long.


I feel I must apologize to my adoring fans for not posting for over a week. Things in my life have been a bit hectic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Idle Hands are the Devil's Playground

Since injuring my arm at Kayak practice in January, I've become porky. The Girlfriend blames a fast food company that shall remain McNameless, since, as I said before, I hate being sued. At one point in time, I was consuming 3 egg muffins for breakfast and 2 BigMc's (ha) and a 1/4 pound burger with cheese for dinner. The Girlfriend made me stop, not because of my waistline, but because of my cholesterol. We agreed that I would give up the Mc for good.

This McAddiction is a funny thing. There are no 12 step programs, there are no McMethadone clinics and there is no McAnonymous to help us. And there are no sympathetic friends trying to help you fight your 2-all-beef-pattys,-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun demons.

I believe it's been said that idle hands are the Devil's playground. Last night my buddy came over to drop off the dog I'm dog sitting for a few days and we decided to go to dinner. The evil temptress that she is, she suggested we eat at the Mc. The devil was not in a blue dress this time, but in tan shorts and a yellow "Miami" t-shirt.

I could hear the disappointment in the Girlfriends voice as I accepted the temptresses offer. My mouth watering and sweating I entered my McCrack house. I went to my dealer and ordered my poison; the above referenced 2-all-beef-pattys and a 1/4 pound burger with cheese and with a medium fry on the side.

OHMYGOD, there was a hiccup in the fullfillment. One of the burger boxes was for a Cinnamon Bun. "I didn't order a Cinnamon Bun," I say sternly to my dealer. Ready to take her to the mat, I shake at the prospect of not getting my fatty-beef fix. The dealer explains that they've run out of the proper boxes, but my requested hit is in this inappropriate container. Calmed, I feel better instantly.

With my tray full of goodies, we find a seat among the other McJunkies. Pictures of the redheaded clown are everywhere. I open my first "box of rain" and bite it. I house this burger violently until I've consumed the whole thing and then do to the same to the next. Now finished, I am both happily satiated and longing for more, but I can see her face in my mind. Her blue eyes filled with disappointment by my long and hard fall off the wagon.

I go home and go to sleep. All is well until about 4am. I get a case of the "Julia Roberts." While many of you will not understand this reference, suffice it to say I spent much time on my porcelain confessional pouring my "heart" out.

Someone, please hear my cry for help and get me the only thing out there for McJunkies such as I: the DVD of SuperSize Me.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane...Just kidding

Well, the Girlfriend is off on vacation. (sigh) We're still at the stage in the relationship where I will miss her. My friends that are either married or in LTR's tell me this will fade. She flew out yesterday for the first leg of her vacation. Unfortunately, it was not as smooth as she would have liked.

She flew a crack airline that shall remain nameless since I hate being sued. She was supposed to leave a bit before 1pm and arrive a bit after 2. She didn't. She was chronically delayed and arrived after 5. This sucked because it was of course her first leg of her trip. She was then driving for 12 hours. She arrived at her destination safely around 5 am. When she called, I was asleep, so 5 am is an approximate time.

Her situation with this airline reminds me of a funny story with my Ex. Ex was flying back home to Florida after our freshman year of college. My parents and I drove her to the airport. These were the times before we worried about terrorists, so we were able to walk her to the gate.

We get to the counter by the gate and see the flight is delayed, but the plane is actually at the gate. There is a very worried family looking for a passenger that, according to the flight manifest, got on the plane but didn't get off. The flight attended comes off the plane and talks to the family of the lost passenger. "He doesn't appear to be in his seat, there is just a wet spot there." WHAT??? Was he vaporized?

They ended up finding him, the poor old man, locked in the loo.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Shock and Awe

My Girlfriend's birthday is the last weekend in September. Being the anal-retentive planner that I am, I started planning the big event in June and bought her gift (the major one) on Saturday at Tiffany's.

You might be asking, "Koog, why Tiffany's? That store is so sophisticated and classy and decidedly not you" Let me explain. In preparation for purchasing, I scoured the internet for the perfect gift. I looked at Celtic, platinum, custom and any other kind of jewelry you can think of. Before throwing up my hands and heading to Home Depot, I checked out Tiffany. Lo and behold, they had cool stuff at not too ridiculous prices. I looked at the site and found some rings that I thought she'd like, vetted them to my friends that have taste and was excited see them in the store.

So I, along with a trusted pair of advisors (my Ex and my Neighbor) went to Tiffany's to buy for a ring for the Girlfriend. I need to bring advisors because I suck and I know it, and this girl is special and deserves something better than a Home Depot gift certificate or an American Chopper t-shirt.

After exchanging niceties with the large security guard at the door, we head to the left (cheap) side of the store in search of the perfect gift. I immediately find the one I liked on the internet. It's so not right for her. Not sophisticated enough. After making the very nice sales lady take nearly every ring out of the case, I finally decided on one and my pair of advisors (both of whom had already told me to look at this particular design) agreed that this was perfect for the Girl.

After a struggle to part with my Check Card, I gave it to the sales lady and she wrapped up my Girl's gift.

Now, I realize that I have over a month and a half before the birthday to hang on to this gift. Oh no, this is not good. I have no self control. When I got home, I looked at myself in the mirror and said "Self, you have to stay strong. Don't give in to the instant gratification of immediate gift giving. You're better than that." After that firm but inspiring inner monologue, I felt invincible, completely in control.

With my new found arrogance and control, I put the blue bag in my car. Mocking my prior lack of discipline, I picked her up from work and took her home.

I'm so in control, I bring the bag in her house, mocking the temptation to deliver early.

Oh no, what's this? I look in her eyes and she melts my resolve. Could she know what I have with me? I did not expect this type of underhanded attack! Oh God, she's still looking at me. While talking to me about a seemingly innocuous topic, I'm deafened by the undertone of the conversation. Taunting me, with the account of her day, I am defeated.

The blue bag that I put before her made her laugh. She called me a loser for not being able to wait. Pretending she didn't launch an attack worthy of shock and awe on my army of self control.

She unties the white bow and tries to play it cool. I can tell she's excited. The cover comes off, the pouch opens and... She loves the ring! She mocks me for my lack of discipline. I smile and tell her I want her to have it for her vacation.

Immediately the ring is residing on her finger. I take a deep breath and smile to my self.

Later that evening, I got an e-mail from her with the following message: "I love my ring!"

Here it is...

the much blogged about ring.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

new favorite saying...

...mounting the artifacts. (hehehe)

Shopping for Romance

I'm bored at work. To prevent myself from falling asleep on the desk, I decided to do some internet shopping. With the Girlfriend celebrating a birthday soon, I decided to peruse the web to find the perfect gift. I already have one gift in mind, I'm going to get it this weekend. (Sorry, no hints) But I'm looking for something a bit more romantic.

While I try to be romantic, I'm not. I border on insensitive. So, since I'm trying to change my ways, I decided to let Google help me out. I entered "romantic birthday gifts" in the search engine and let'er rip. This was no help. Just a link to things she would hate. Gold roses, incense, strange jewelry and Winnie the Pooh quotes.

I don't know why I'm having such trouble with this. So much pressure. It's the first birthday she's celebrating with me and if I don't do this right, it may be the last. But she's frugal so spending lots of money is not an option. (Thank God!)

Does a gift certificate to Home Depot say "you're special?" It might, she does like HGTV.

Almost Famous

I was home sick yesterday. There is something to be said for staying in bed sleeping all day. My Girlfriend took good care of me, making lunch, doing laundry and napping with me. After lunch we decided to watch a movie.

Usually she is suspect (which she should be) of my movie choices. My favorites include Dumb and Dumber, Old School, Anchor Man, or the oldie-but-goodie Porky's. She, on the other hand loves Fried Green Tomatoes, Elizabeth or any movie that does not feature a nude Will Farrell.
What fun is a movie without a crack shot of Will Farrell?

Anyway, after lunch I brought up 3 movies for us to choose from "Master and Commander," (but since I was already nauseous, this was not a good choice), "Da Ali G Show"(first season, respek) and Almost Famous. We agreed that we should watch "Master and Commander" on the widescreen in the basement another day, she didn't even consider Ali G, so we decided on Almost Famous.

Sleeping through movies is pretty typical for us. I'm not sure we've ever been able to stay awake through a film. She just loves to sleep and due to my advanced age, any place dark and warm puts me out. I had no confidence that we'd actually see the movie. Earlier in the day, we'd both slept through "Garden State". So I go ahead and put in the DVD, adjust the sound and jump back in bed. Much to my surprise, we made it though and she ENJOYED it!

It's all happening......

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

brithdays, growing up and falling asleep at the bar

I just celebrated my 33rd birthday. I still feel like I'm 14 and I still act like I'm 10. Will I ever grow up? It was with this question I started my weekend long birthday extravaganza. As I reminiced my 32nd year, I realized that alot had happened to me last year; new house, a new car (twice) and a new girlfriend. The latter has forced me to mature at a faster rate than I had been in the previous 32. Forced may be a strong term, there were no, "it's the foosball table or ME" ultimatums (thanks, honey) or "I took the liberty of selling your drums on Ebay." She's so not like that. Maybe I should say she guided me to discover the slightly more adult version of myself.

Take the Land Rover situation. I was spending $600 per month in gas to power that thing as she lives more than 40 miles from me. She told me to consider a new car. I considered a BMW Z4. She said it was hard to fit 2 people and a large dog in a 2 seater. I agreed and purchased a BMW 325i, which, in her opinion, I drive far too fast. Some things I can not change.

On the second day of my extravaganza, we cleaned my garage. Again, so out of character for someone that used to play GTA: San Andreas in my pajamas on weekends and eat pizza. After the cleansing, we met my friends at one of my favorite watering holes in DC. After consuming a mere 3 beers and 3 SoCo shots I fell asleep AT THE BAR. Not passed out, FELL ASLEEP.

Sunday, the third and final day of my birthday weekend. We finished cleaning the garage. I found my winter hat collection. The girlfriend hates these hats, which make me love them even more. My favorite one is blue wool, with ear flaps and long rope tassels. It's lined with polar fleece. I wore it all day. It was 90 degrees and sunny. I think I lost weight from my head. Why you may ask? I have only one answer: My youth is gone. All I have left is my immaturity.

I am old and lame, but still extremely good looking.