You want me to pay how much?

Are there things in life that you would REALLY love to have but simply can’t afford?  Of course there are…it’s simply a fact of life for 99% of us that don’t have unlimited disposable income.

But are there things out there that are just sooooo good…sooooo important to you that you think the price is totally worth it.

I’m one of those guys who lives paycheck to paycheck. It sucks, but in this economy I think it’s more important to have job stability than to take unnecessary risks in order to potentially make more money than I need. At least at this point.  Ask me again in another year or two.

But I can’t lie…there are things out there that I believe are worth a premium. There are items…tangible items…that, to me, are so absolutely worth the price.

1. A good steak. Listen…I’m just not a fruit & vegetable kinda guy. I know I may turn off a certain demographic, but I absolutely LOVE meat.  All kinds of meat, too…steak, fish, chicken…you name it, I’ll eat it.

But when it comes to steak, I will pay $20 or more for a beautifully cooked steak that melts in your mouth. I mean, a pre-marinated thing of beauty that has been flamed-up just right…I can’t even tell you how awesome it is.

For those of you who enjoy steak, I think you know what I’m talking about.

2. Razor blades. Hey…I’m bald by choice, kids. But even when I had hair, I always found myself having problems with razor blades…trying to find one that wouldn’t irritate my skin or cut me or leave me with stubble five hours later.

I’ve found the perfect razor blade and I’ll be totally honest…I’ve tried others but they don’t come CLOSE.

I use the Gillette Fusion Proglide.  No, this isn’t a sponsored post at all…I’m just a consumer who uses razors for both my face and my head, and I have yet to find a better shave.

The only problem? A four-pack of blades costs around $20.  Yeah…those little suckers are expensive as all get-out.  And it’s $20 if they’re on sale!!

But it’s totally worth it. And ladies…I’m sure you probably feel the same way about razors for your legs. Don’t you?

3. A good movie. I download movies illegally online…I’ll totally admit to it.  But I also go out to the movies, as well…so it’s not like I’ll watch everything illegally.

I don’t mind laying down $13 for a ticket and another $10 for snacks if the movie is totally worth my while.  Sunshine and I recently saw “Bad Teacher“…and while good, it certainly didn’t feel like it was worth the money to me.

My thought is that if I want to spend that kind of money on a movie, I want to feel as though I got my money’s worth.  Something like “Avatar“, for example, was worth every single penny to see in 3-D on an IMAX screen.

At the end of the day, people will always want to see movies in a movie theatre if the movie is worth the money to pay to see it.

4a. Toilet paper. Okay…I realize this one may seem a bit odd to most but trust me on this one.  If you happen to use no-name brand toilet paper and then buy the premium stuff, you’ll quickly realize why the premium stuff is more expensive.

And I don’t know about y’all, but considering what I use toilet paper for I think I owe it to myself to buy the absolute best product possible.

4b. Kleenex. Yes, I realize that it’s supposed to be called “facial tissue” but to me there’s only one really good recognizable brand out there and it’s name has replaced the actual name (sort of like “Band-Aid” for bandages).

I’m a guy who gets sick more often than not (probably due to my poor eating habits). When I’m sick, I’m sick for a few weeks at a time.

I’ve tried being sick with the cheap tissues, but then my nose gets all red and raw and then it hurts to blow and yadda yadda yadda.

I’ll take spending the extra money to get “Kleenex with Lotion” any day of the week in order to get the comfort my nose deserves.  It might sound petty, but that’s something I find is definitely worth the money.

5. Music. Similar to movies, I download a ton of music online.  I used to buy cd’s all the time so it’s not like I’ve always been into illegal pirating, but I feel as though there was a time when the record companies simply priced themselves out of the market.  Online pirating of music wasn’t always about getting stuff for free…it was about making a statement that we thought we were paying too much for the product we were given.

Cut to today and I’ll be the first to admit I buy songs via iTunes all the time. I absolutely do not mind paying for a song or an album if I think the music is worth it.

Obviously, in today’s musical environment there is not a lot of stuff worth paying for anymore…but when there is, I absolutely have no problem slapping down a couple bucks for a song.

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So what about you? Is there anything out there that you think is worth paying a little extra for?

10 Things I Want To Do Before 2012

1. Go to a drive-in movie. Sunshine and I have been wanting to go to a drive-in movie for awhile now, but a combination of bad timing and bad movies always seem to get in the way. We’re going to make it happen this year, though. There are simply too few drive-in theatres around and too much fun to be had.  For anybody who hasn’t been to a drive-in movie…you’re totally missing out.

2. Spend some time on Prince Edward Island. Sunshine is tentatively scheduled to run a half-marathon in the fall on PEI.  What I would love to do is spend a weekend there…enjoying the sights and sounds of the beautiful island. I haven’t been there in a few years, when my parents took my daughter and I to PEI for a week’s vacation.  There are a ton of pics from that trip, but I think they’re all on my previous blog. If anybody’s even slightly interested, I can create a post to show them off.

3. Reach my weight-loss goal of 200lbs. I’m below 230lbs for the first time in I don’t know HOW long, and I feel like I’ve gone over a small hurdle in my life.  I’m fighting a daily battle against junk food, and all I want to do is get to a point where I can look in the mirror and not feel repulsed.  I know I can do it and I feel like I can win this particular battle. Can I reach 200lbs?  I honestly don’t know…but I’m on my way to finding out.

4. Finish reading The Lost Symbol. LOL…I’ve had this book for almost two years now.  Sunshine gave it to me as a gift for Christmas (because I asked for it) and I’m still not even half-way through it.  And what’s worse is that I actually LIKE the book. Not sure why I haven’t just taken the time to sit down and read the rest of it…I guess I’ve never been a “sit down and read” kind of guy.  But I want to do it…so I’m going to do it.  No more excuses.

5. Finish decorating my house. I moved into this house back in December and to be completely honest, I’m not loving it.  I haven’t had the inclination or the time (or the money) to change the place to make it look like I want it to look.  But I want to…I’m going to be here for awhile so I need to accept it and make it my own. Would I like a “woman’s touch”?  Probably…but I need to grow up and decorate it in a way that says “ME”.

6. Buy a new camera. I’m not a greedy guy.  I’m not looking for a $1,000 professional camera here.  I just need to save up a couple hundred (maybe a little less) and find a solid digital camera on eBay.  My dad recently bought one for Sunshine because I dropped hers on a cobblestone street in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in March.  She’s been using my crappy little Kodak camera in the meantime. The camera dad bought for her is pretty nice, I gotta say…and I really want to try to save up enough money to buy one myself.

7. Get a family portrait with ALL of our kids in one spot. With Rugrat tentatively sheduled to come visit the second week of August, that means both Sunshine and I will have that entire week off to spend together with all of our kids. It will definitely be hectic, but I think it’ll also be a blast.  BUt something I definitely want is to have a picture with all of us together…and one done professionally. Last summer my ex-wife took a picture of all of us together and it wasn’t quite the masterpiece I wanted, so hopefully we can get ‘er done this summer.

8. Become a better blogger. I’ve lost a bit of inspiration over the past few months since mom passed away, but I know that I love to write and want to continue writing.  I also know that I’m pretty decent at what I do and if I really apply myself I can become the blogger I’ve always wanted to become.  In addition, I keep putting off my “Guilty Pleasures” blog…something that I started but haven’t continued.  I want to because I think it would be fun.  I just need to stop procrastinating and being lazy and jumping into it head first.  I think I’d really love what I end up creating.

9. Enjoy life…especially the life I live and how I live it. One of the things I’ve been working on recently is trying to love myself. As difficult as that has been, it’s also helped me to remember how much I enjoy living life.  Is my life perfect? Not by any stretch. But it’s a good enough life that I don’t’ want to take it for granted. It’s funny…this past weekend I told Sunshine that sometimes I don’t feel like she “stops to smell the roses” and enjoy what’s around her.  It’s definitely advice that I need to consider for myself.

10. Smile every day. It’s easy. It’s fun. It can make someone else’s day without you even realizing it. There is ALWAYS a reason to smile at least once during the course of every single day. My task…heck, my personal mission…is to never forget that.

Wink Wink Nudge Nudge

It’s been an interesting week…

My dad joined Facebook. Not only did he join Facebook, but he added me as a friend.  Not only did he add me as a friend, but he added Sunshine as a friend, too.  Not only did he do all that, but now he’s making comments on my wall.  I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure if I like this whole situation. I mean…my dad’s 65 and he has NEVER liked the internet so why start now?  Sunshine told me that he’s just lonely and this is just another way for him to cope…and to that end I suppose she’s right. It’s a bit awkward for me, but it’s not like I say or do anything on Facebook that I need to be ashamed of so it’s not really that big of a deal.

So now I’ve got my daughter AND my dad as “friends” on Facebook.

My son played his first “real” soccer game last night.  I say “real” because it was just 20 kids all under six years old kicking the ball (and each other’s shins). Ankle Biter?  He wanted to be the goalie because he just loves falling down and stopping the ball from going past him. On one hand, that’s pretty awesome because the goalie has a fairly important job on the team.  On the other hand, he loves to run and I’m surprised that he’d want a position where he’d have to stand still a lot of the time.

But when the time came and the first shot came his way, he was ready!!

INXS is playing here in two weeks. I’m still hoping it doesn’t sell out and I can find a way to scrounge up some money to get a ticket the day of the show online at a discount. I’ve always been a fan of the band, from the very first time I saw the video for “Original Sin” on a Saturday night video program from some local Bangor, ME television channel. I used to sneak out of bed on Friday and Saturday nights just to watch music videos (Friday Night Videos was on NBC at the time after The Tonight Show), so I grew up on bands with unique music videos that got a lot of play…one of them being INXS. 

And it’s cool to know I was a fan of the band before they really hit it big with “Kick“, which was their biggest selling album.  It was kinda cool to be able to follow a band through limited exposure to decent hit (with “Listen Like Thieves“) to major break-through. And through the years I remained a fan of the band, even after Michael Hutchence passed away.

So now JD Fortune (a fellow Maritimer!) is the lead singer of INXS, back with the band after initially winning the gig on a reality show that I absolutely loved called Rockstar: INXS.  Their first album as a band was awesome and he’s a perfect fit to sing their older songs, so my being a fan of the band has continued.

Okay…enough with THAT history lesson. Needless to say I’m hoping to score a ticket somehow before July 7th.

Sunshine and I are going on a date tomorrow night.  We’re going to a movie that we’ve been looking forward to seeing since we originally saw the red-band trailer for it: Bad Teacher.  She’s a Justin Timberlake fan so I think that helped sway her into wanting to watch this. I could be wrong, but this thing looks hilarious.

I’m down four pounds over the past week…which isn’t too bad, I guess. I’m trying to eat healthier, drink more water, and walk more. The only thing I’m not really doing enough of is walking. It’s been tough lately, especially at work. I used to make myself go for walks three times every day, but lately it’s been so bloody crazy at work that I’m lucky enough to even get up from my seat three times in day much less take breaks.

Even though it’s supposed to rain all weekend, I’m hoping to get some exercise at Sunshine’s. Ahem…yeah…that’s it…”exercise”.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!

It’s tough…

…trying to love yourself when self-loathing is all you’ve ever known.

I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever loved myself.  Heck…I don’t even remember thinking of myself in a positive way for more than a day or so.  I know I’m a good person in a lot of different ways, but when I look in the mirror I’m disgusted with what I see.  All I see is the teenager than everybody picked on…the son that was never good enough…the guy who never had a date in high school.

I’ve never grown out of it or found a way to put it all behind me.  The time I’ve been spending lately to help move through these issues only seems to be exacerbating them…making them much more apparent. I’d like to be able to just ignore them, but the feelings end up bottling-up inside and coming out at very inopportune times.

And my feelings of self-loathing don’t just come from a physical aspect, either. I’m extremely self-critical in all aspects of my life, and when I make a mistake…any kind of mistake…I take the anger that I have at myself and end up lashing out at someone who happens to be within ear shot.

In addition, I eat because I’m depressed and it provides some sort of comfort to me.  I look at myself the next day and I’m disgusted with what I see, yet the only way I feel like I can make myself feel better is by eating again. It’s a vicious circle and one that’s difficult to break (although the past week has been a successful one).

I feel like money equals self worth.  And because I’ve always struggled to not only make it, but to save it…it has always affected how I view myself as a person, which I know it shouldn’t. 

There have been moments recently where I have had a very difficult time smiling, which is something most people see do quite often. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and sometimes when I’m thinking inward…really trying to see what’s at the heart of these thoughts and feelings…I enter a place that simply prevents me from smiling.

This place, I believe, is where all of my hurting comes from.  It’s a room locked up in my brain somewhere, and it stores all of the hurt and the pain and the anxiety that has not only built-up over the years…but it also stores the beginnings of all of these feelings.

I’ve told Sunshine these things before.  They’re nothing new.  These are things that I realize require work on my part.  She has been giving me space recently in order to do just that.  However, even she was able to recognize that it appears that I’m afraid of what I’ll find if I really continue to look deep within myself.

And she’s right, actually.  I’m absolutely petrified. 

I’m afraid that if I truly dig deep and find the root cause for all of my ridiculous insecurities (and I can admit that I’m not really the big fucking loser that I’ve told myself I am all of my life), it will adversely affect my current life.  I’m afraid that this root cause will somehow damage current relationships…how can it not?  Isn’t that the point?  To find the reason for the hurt and then (somehow) confront it and do something about it in order to find some kind of closure and move on healthier and happier?

I’m not able to do that.  At least not yet. 

It’s a process; it’s something that I’m working on. The problem is that I’m not entirely sure how to continue working on it without entering that room and confronting whatever is hidden in the back corner somewhere.

It’s tough.

Room For Improvement

I wasn’t the best father to my daughter her when she was a baby.

Rugrat at 2 days old
First Halloween

I was in my 20’s, REALLY immature, and simply wasn’t ready for the massive responsibility of being a parent.  I wouldn’t say I was a “deadbeat” in any way, but I certainly wasn’t the kind of father I should have been…which isn’t an excuse, it just is what it is.  I can admit to that now.

It’s been quite the journey from my immature 20’s to my slightly dorky late 30’s. But if I can think of anything that I can attribute to my ex-wife is that she helped smarten me up when it came to how I was as a father. She didn’t want our son to grow up the same way my daughter did.

Brief history lesson…

Cute as a button!

I split with her mom when she was 9 months old. I moved to Newfoundland shortly thereafter for a solid year for work purposes…totally missing out on sooo much of her early development.  It’s a shame, too…because she was (and still is!!) a gorgeous girl.

Once I came back I really tried to reconnect with Rugrat, but it was a very long road and I still wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility.  I could never get her to fall asleep in her crib…she hated spending time with me (although she was so young, it was really hard to know for sure)…and I just never felt a closeness with her.  At all.

Rugrat's first birthday

Like I said, I missed out on much of her early development…too much. Even as she got a bit older, when she stayed overnight with me on the weekends, she cried for her mom.  Now I never took that too personally but I realized at the time that it was because I didn’t spend nearly enough time with her. And during the time that we WERE together, I wasn’t as interactive as I should have been.

CBG & Rugrat circa 2001

When she got sick, I didn’t know how to react or what to do. One night, in fact, she threw up in her bed.  I ended up getting so rattled that I called her mom for help. She wasn’t there but HER mom was there.  I acted like such a child that night…I just was so lost that I ended up taking Rugrat home because I didn’t know (nor really did I want to) how to deal with the situation.

This was a good day

I was a bad father.  At least that’s how I feel about it now.  Okay…maybe not “bad”, but certainly not a good father.  I just had so much work to do in so many areas…but I was still interested in only myself and my own life.  I treated her like a “side project” instead of the focus of all my love and attention.

It actually got to the point that when her mom asked me if she could take her a plane-ride away to Ontario so she could begin a new life with her boyfriend (i.e. her current husband), I didn’t put up the fight I really should have.  That distance really affected our relationship in an adverse way.

I did try over time, though…and we began to form a bond over the years as she got older.  It’s a bond that still isn’t nearly as strong as I would like it to be, but I’m doing what I can to make sure she knows I’m always here for her.

As she grows older, I hope she realizes that her little brother is what has helped me FINALLY “see the light” when it comes to being a parent. The multiple mistakes I made…the selfishness…the not being there enough…those are now lessons learned when it comes to Ankle Biter.

Rugrat & CBG: November 2008

As she grows older, I just hope we can talk about the mistakes I made…how I want to not only maintain a relationship but to make it as strong as possible.

I’m a much better father now…a much better man…but there’s always room for improvement.  I’m very hopeful that she will give me the opportunity to grow with her as she grows older.

Rugrat & CBG: Summer 2010