Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the subject of "Hitting the Wall"

It has been four years. I have watched my world be flipped upside down then right side up and back and forth. Over that time I believe that the people around me may have noticed, but also knew that "dependable me" would still be around.

That seems to be my nature. I am always around when people need me. Need an assistant coach for a team, I am there. Need someone to help raise money, call me. Need someone to design a new logo for a group, e-mail me. Need someone to make sure everyone gets home safely while the world drinks around me, yep, I am there. It is just my nature.

For the first time ever, on Monday, I hit the wall, and it hit back very very hard. My reaction, as always, was just to get my self up and dust myself off and start all over again. This time, when I tried to get up... it took effort.

The goalie mask you see above carries the quote "Fall down 8 times, get up 9." It belongs to former WHL goalie Dustin Tokarski. It really exemplifies what I try to do... but this time the effort seemed so much different.

So... let's take a look at the last 12 months in my life...
Had a mystery headache that flattened me for two weeks causing me to go get a CT scan.
The results of the scan found nothing. (insert joke here.)
Answered dozens of Facebook random facts and questionnaires with every conceivable fact about myself.
Discovered re connections with people that I could have never imagined and realized I have made some kind of difference in many people's lives.
Created the mother of all Facebook notes with the "300" note, acknowledging stories about each and every one of my 300 Facebook friends.
Wondered how I have 562 Facebook friends now.
Said goodbye to my parents house by going to organize its clearance.
Watched a moving van pull up to my house and leave the memories of UpDaCreek in my own house.
Saw the people I work with at my major client get fired and the new ones wonder if I could in fact do my job.
Had those same people realize that I might be the person right to run their operations for the long term.
Lost a television show that I had worked on for the last 7 years.
Got a "replacement" deal for less than half the money for segments instead of a show.
Saw a 15 year streak of Emmy Nominations come to an end.
Realized that Emmy Awards were something I had obsessed about for no particularly good reason.
Turned 46 and figured I am on the "back nine."
Started an improv group that has brought me more joy than anything I could have ever imagined, and found a new permanent home for the group just six months into its existence as the theatre's resident group.
Almost saw the theatre close its doors before we even got to do our first shows until an anonymous donor saved the day.
Created a video for my daughter's sixth grade graduation that made everyone in the gym cry.
Cried at the fact that I have such a tenuous relationship with my daughter.
Had a dream that allowed me to see amazing possibilities in my life.
Had a dream where I didn't get away from the "bad guy" for the first time and felt the pain of being shot.
Had another mystery illness that shut down my digestive system for a week forcing me to get an MRI.
Had a situation where a close friend wondered if I had become a different person than the one he knew.
No cause was found, and it went away.
Saw my ability to sleep more than 8 hours go away.
Took a cruise and felt so close to the people I met on the ship, I almost applied for a permanent job on the Cruise Staff.
Came back to reality and realized that cruise life is fantasy, and reality can really suck.
Sent my son on an incredible three week cross country road trip.
Spent most of the next three weeks talking him off the ledge as the kids on the trip were making life miserable for him.
Wrote my first song.
Heard the crowd, thinking the show was over, talk over the last verse which had the message to it.
Questioned my future for the first time in such a way that I wasn't sure how it would all turn out.
Went through a long process to try to find a way to strengthen what I already have.
Found myself waking up before sunrise on most days, whether it was planned or not.
Left the place that I had lived in for longer than any other place in my life.
Moved to a new house that is so far out of my league it is ridiculous, but am finding a way to make it work.
Discovered an untapped improv character ability to "be big."
Discovered that I still felt like a jilted school girl when I didn't get invited to a party that many of my friends were invited to.

I think you can see how I might have hit said wall.

However, as I write you, the sun is out. I am in an amazing office surrounded by the memories of the past and the possibilities of the future.

I have two families that love me... one that I have, one that I chose, and who chose me.

And the wall is something I look back on and realize that I am only human. It will reappear when I least want it to... but at least I know it is there and may be better prepared for it next time.

Merry Christmas all... hope your wall stays in your rear view mirror and the endless possibilities of life bring you blue skies ahead.

Yours truly,
Johnny Blogger

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On the subject of UpDaCreek

Greetings to you, fine internet people... it's been a while.

I am coming to you live from the garage of an empty house. It was the house I lived in longer than any other, yet now, it lies without a chair, without a table, with nothing but the internet modem which is the last thing that dwells in the dwelling.

It is a surreal sight to look around and see where I changed the diapers of our first child, then our second. It is so strange to see the place where I sat in disbelief when we had to take our daughter to the hospital for the first time. It is unnatural to look into the kitchen and not see my lovely wife welcoming me home. I look at the sliding door and there is no dog waiting to be let inside. Home is now a memory.

Last night, I spent the night in an almost as empty house just a few minutes away from here, but a world away in terms of what will be. From a nice size rambler to the house that most people can only dream about, but somehow it has become ours.

The last time I had emotions like these were when I visited my parent's house for the last time. They lived in South Carolina in a house they called UpDaCreek, as it sat by an ocean fed creek.

Driving away from my new house for the first time this morning, I realized that we are on the banks of an ocean fed creek as well. Ours is on top of a hill and you have to go down a trail to get to it, but none the less, it is there. So, I called my wife and asked if she realized this as well. She didn't put two and two together either.

We had always said we wanted to live like my parents did, in a house of dreams, by the water, and now in a way we have. So we have dubbed the new house UpDaCreek West, and we will refer to it as a tribute to my wonderful parents who dreamed of this for us those many years ago.

Finally, their dream came true, and so did ours... and we think that somehow, some way, the connection of the Atlantic to the Pacific and the creeks that run by, make it all the more right.

Hey Mom and Dad, we made it!

Yours truly,
Johnny Blogger